Edgewood woman found guilty of arson in house fire that took the lives of four people

Oct. 27—An Edgewood woman has been convicted of setting a house fire in 2019 that took the lives of four people.

Bobbie Sue Hodge, 63, was found guilty by a jury Monday of arson in the first degree, four counts of felony murder and three counts of assault in the second degree stemming from an arson, according to a news release from the Office of the State's Attorney for Harford County.

Hodge, who was tried in Harford County Circuit Court, faces a maximum penalty of four life sentences plus 60 years.

"This tragedy shocked our Harford County community," Albert Peisinger, state's attorney for Harford County, said in a statement. "It is my hope that this verdict is a first step toward healing for the surviving victims and the families of those who lost loved ones."

On May 9, 2019, at 2:28 a.m., Ernest Lee, who lived on the third floor of a town house at 1862 Simons Court, called 911 to report a fire. When fire crews arrived around 2:35 a.m., the third floor of the town house was completely engulfed in fire.

Lee, Dionne Hill and Kimberly Shupe, who all lived on the third floor, died in the fire. Another third-floor occupant, Marquise St. John, escaped the fire by jumping out of a third-floor bedroom window. St. John sustained a broken ankle and arm.

A fourth resident, Mary Elizabeth Kennedy, who was living on the second floor, was rescued by fire personnel and transported to an area hospital for treatment of her burns. Kennedy died from her injuries on Jan. 22, 2020. Her death was ruled a homicide by medical examiners.

Hodge and two other basement occupants were able to escape to safety.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions, and the Harford County Sheriff's Office conducted a joint investigation of the fire. After interviewing numerous witnesses including occupants of the home, neighbors and Hodge, as well as reviewing 911 calls and consulting with experts at the ATF, Hodge was arrested and charged with arson and murder, the state's attorney's office said.

Hodge's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec.13 at 1 p.m.