Boyfriend Goes into Jealous Rage, Burns Down House and Takes Fire Selfies
Justin Michael Clum allegedly returned to the scene of the crime to take pictures of himself
A Maryland man went into a jealous rage after his girlfriend admitted to sleeping with another man, setting fire to the man’s home and later returning to the scene to take “fire selfies” amid the ruins, according to charging documents emailed to PEOPLE.
Justin Michael Clum, 26, was charged Saturday with three counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree arson, four counts of malicious burning in the first degree, three counts of reckless endangerment, and four counts of malicious destruction of property in connection to the early morning fire on Wendover Road in Glen Burnie on July 17.
Three people inside the two-story, single-family home made it out safely at around 3:40 a.m., but the home was completely destroyed, per an Anne Arundel County Fire Department press release shared with PEOPLE.
The girlfriend told police that she and Clum had been drinking vodka at a community pier just hours before when she confessed that she’d had a sexual encounter with the 26-year-old man that lived at the Wendover Road home. The couple had been separated at the time of the alleged indiscretion, per the charging papers.
Clum “immediately freaked out and started punching himself in the face,” the documents state, then told his girlfriend that “someone’s gonna die tonight.”
The couple drove to the man’s house, stopping to get a container and fill it with gasoline. Clum then allegedly poured the gasoline on the front porch and set the house on fire, the documents state. His girlfriend told police that she waited in the car and saw an orange flash in the side-view mirror, per the charging documents.
After the fire, Clum and his girlfriend parked the car outside a methadone clinic and waited for it to open. Clum then drove back to the scene of the crime and took several “fire selfies” – photos of himself in front of the home’s remains – with his cell phone, the charging documents note. Those pictures have not been made public.
“They are not being released due to them being evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation,” Captain Russell E. Davies, Jr., Public Information Officer with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, tells PEOPLE.
A witness said that Clum’s girlfriend didn’t report the fire or her boyfriend’s involvement “because her life would be harder,” the charging documents state. No charges have been filed against her, the Capital Gazette reports.
Assistant State Attorney Aaron Meyers said Clum was also involved in a domestic violence incident about a month after the fire in which he allegedly threatened to kill his girlfriend, her family and burn down her family’s home. The Capital Gazette reports that a protective order was filed in District Court.
Clum has several criminal convictions on his record, including theft, malicious destruction of property and drug charges, according to the The Capital Gazette.
Appearing via closed-circuit TV from the Jennifer Road Detention Center, Clum was mostly silent during a bail review hearing on Monday, speaking only to say he understood the charges, the newspaper reports. His bond is set at $1 million. Clum has not yet entered a plea.
The incident remains under investigation.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.