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Matt Musolino, a former Fort Hunt High football star and one of the three kids convicted of burning down that Alexandria high school 30 years ago, checked in with Cheap Seats Daily a couple times while I was on vacation.
He wasn’t happy.
I had written about the recent reunion of his mates from the Fort Hunt Class of ’79, the ones he made refugees for half their senior year by torching their school building over Christmas break.
Musolino didn’t show up for the get-together. I wondered in print if burning down your school your senior year means you can’t go to future class reunions.
But I spoke with him by phone over the Labor Day weekend from Virginia Beach, where he now runs a stone company.
He told me he stayed away from the Fort Hunt reunion for economic and logistic reasons, not because he burned down the school. Had he shown, his classmates would have welcomed him back, he insisted.
“I got 30 employees, and my kids,” he said. “I wanted to go, but I couldn’t go. But I got 10 calls from Fort Hunt people wondering why I wasn’t there.”
I had written that Musolino, who plead guilty to arson charges, told investigators and the Washington Post after the school burning that he had supplied the gasoline from his father’s service station on Route 1 to stock the firebombs. During our conversation, Musolino started to argue that my post distorted his role in the fire that destroyed the school.
“I wasn’t even around to see the fire, did you know that?” he said.
But Musolino backed away from that line of attack quickly, saying there was no reason to “look back.”
But isn’t looking back what class reunions are all about? And though I’d never met Musolino, having grown up in Northern Virginia at the same time, I’ve remembered the destruction of Fort Hunt and ensuing investigations as being among the biggest scandals of my adolescence. Since Musolino was a star fullback on one of the strongest teams in the area that year, he was the highest profile of the kids fingered in the fire. I told him I’m still intrigued by that case.
He told me I should let it go and hung up.