Saturday, May 22, 2010

also, a rally for a theatrical worker struck and killed on Howard. Anyone with info call police

Car thief shot in Mt Vernon

Off-duty cop shoots car thief in Mt. Vernon

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More homicides

Police release details on several homicides dating back to May 8th

Prosecutors: It's okay to defraud the city

This is true, the office of Patricia Jessamy has concluded that sex offender Dennis McLaughlin was entitled to fraudulently obtained sick pay that he received while in prison for sexually abusing a minor. Thus there will be no charges filed against the people who filed the fake leave slips, forged the doctors' notes, or even against McLaughlin, who received the pay while in prison and is now laughing all the way to the bank. btw, he's still in jail for impersonating a police officer, abducting a woman, and sexually assaulting her.

For those of us who live in the city, your tax dollars at work.

Don't speak

School police officer who warded off gang at Carver High is charged for speaking to the media.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cult Death Sentence Explained

It's a long one, but what the heck. Julie Drake, Division Chief of the Felony Family Violence Division, must still be getting flak about the Ria Ramkissoon sentence, because she released this letter today:
This is in response to e-mail messages that have been forwarded to me by citizens who have questions or concerns regarding the sentencing of Ria Ramkissoon. Ria Ramkissoon was the mother of 16 month old Javon Thompson, who died of dehydration and starvation while living with a cult in West Baltimore. I am happy to respond to questions and comments regarding Ms. Ramkissoon’s closed case, but first it is important to understand the facts which formed the basis for Ms. Ramkissoon’s guilty plea and the trial of her co-defendants.

In April of 2006, Javon Thompson, then 7 months old, lived with his mother (Ria Ramkissoon), his grandmother (Seeta Newton), and other relatives here in Baltimore City. Ms. Ramkissoon was in school, studying to become a pharmacy technician. However, she had two desires. First, she wanted to be able to stay home and care for Javon full-time. Second, although she had been raised in Hindu faith, Ms. Ramkissoon had converted to Christianity, and wanted to live in a Christian household. Around that time Ms. Ramkissoon was persuaded by a friend to join a household run by a woman who called herself “Queen Antoinette”. Ms. Ramkissoon was told that this was a Christian household, where she could devote herself to the care of her child.

Toni Sloan, aka “Queen Antoinette” ran her household under a strict set of rules, which she said were based on Biblical principles. As time passed, the rules multiplied and became more restrictive. Eventually, all members were required to give up their personal possessions (including birth certificates and identification), as well as contact with old friends and family. Members were forbidden to dress in colors other than white, khaki or blue. The children were not permitted to attend school and the women were expected to stay home and home-school and care for the children. With the exception of Queen Antoinette, her daughter Trevia Williams (“Princess Trevia”), and her chief aide, Marcus Cobbs (“Prince Marcus”) no one could leave the house, unless they were accompanied by another member. Queen Antoinette claimed that God had appointed her queen and spoke directly to her; failure to follow her rules would result in damnation.

One morning in early 2007, Javon Thompson, then 16 months old, refused to say “amen” after the blessing before breakfast. Queen Antoinette told the others that Javon possessed a “spirit of rebellion”, and that God told her that the way to purge Javon of this evil spirit was to deprive him of food and water until he said “amen”. At first, Javon became more hungry and irritable. As he cried, Queen Antoinette warned the household members not to feed him. Ms. Ramkissoon was so distraught over this that Queen Antoinette ordered Trevia Williams to take control of Javon – she did not want Ria to disobey her order. When it became clear that Javon was on the verge of death, he was returned to his mother and he died in her arms.

After Javon’s death, Queen Antoinette ordered everyone to kneel and pray for his resurrection. God would bring Javon back to life, she said, but only if they had enough faith. When Javon did not respond initially to the group’s prayers, they placed his body in one of the bedrooms. As the days passed, and Javon’s body began to decompose, the only person who remained by his body, praying, reading and singing to Javon, was his mother. When Ms. Ramkissoon wondered why Javon had not risen from the dead, Queen Antoinette told her that it was her fault – she wasn’t a good enough mother and she didn’t have enough faith. Ms. Ramkissoon believed her.

After a visit from the landlord, Queen Antoinette informed the group that God had told her that it was time to move to Philadelphia. At the insistence of Ms. Ramkissoon, who still believed that Javon would be resurrected, his decaying body was placed in a green suitcase which was taken with the group to Philadelphia. The suitcase was secured in a locked shed in Philadelphia when the group moved on to New York. Meanwhile, Seeta Newton had filed a missing persons report for Ria and Javon. Ultimately the authorities were able to piece the cases together, located Javon’s body, and arrested the cult members. Ria Ramkissoon, Queen Antoinette, Trevia Williams and Marcus Cobbs have been in jail since their arrest. As of the trial date, Ms. Ramkissoon still believed that Javon could be resurrected.

On March 30, 2009, Ms. Ramkissoon pled guilty to child abuse resulting in the death of Javon Thompson. The basis of her guilty plea was her failure to feed Javon or seek medical treatment, after the point when feeding would have been dangerous. Under Maryland law, her admittedly sincere religious beliefs did not constitute a defense. Pursuant to the terms of her plea agreement, Ms. Ramkissoon was required to (1) testify truthfully against Queen Antoinette, Trevia Williams, and Marcus Cobbs at their trial, and (2) participate in and successfully complete a long-term, in-patient program in a residential treatment facility selected by the State’s Attorney’s Office. At Ms. Ramkissoon’s insistence, the court agreed that if Javon is resurrected (not reincarnated), she can come back to court and withdraw her guilty plea. Ms. Ramkissoon received a sentence of 20 years, with all but the time she has already served suspended, and 5 years probation. She testified at the trial of Queen Antoinette, Trevia Williams and Marcus Cobbs, helping to secure convictions of all three on charges of second degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Immediately after her sentencing and release from Baltimore City Detention Center, Ms. Ramkissoon was driven to the residential treatment facility where she will be held indefinitely.

I will attempt to summarize and answer the questions I have received regarding Ms. Ramkissoon’s case.

(1) Why did Ria Ramkissoon receive probation instead of a lengthy jail sentence?
Isn’t this just a “slap on the wrist”?

There are a number of reasons why one co-defendant receives a more lenient sentence than the others. There were several factors which applied to Ms. Ramkissoon’s case.

First, it was clear to everyone that the central and most culpable defendant in this case was Queen Antoinette. She was the leader of the cult. She was the individual who issued the order to withhold food and water from Javon. Queen Antoinette was the defendant who warned the others not to feed Javon, and who removed Javon from Ms. Ramkissoon’s control in order to ensure that she did not feed him. In order to secure justice for Javon, our first priority was to convict Queen Antoinette of child abuse and murder, and secure a substantial prison term in her case. In order to do that, it was necessary to obtain eye-witness testimony regarding what had occurred. Although Ms. Ramkissoon did not want to testify against anyone, she was willing to tell the truth. Her truthful testimony was essential to obtaining Queen Antoinette’s conviction.

Second, and equally important, I believe that justice was best served by placing Ms. Ramkissoon in a residential treatment facility rather than in prison. It was clear to everyone who interviewed Ms. Ramkissoon that she had been indoctrinated through classic “brain-washing” techniques into a cult. She had no malice or ill will toward Javon; quite the contrary, she believed Queen Antoinette was acting in his best interests by attempting to free him from an “evil spirit”. Nonetheless, she was extremely distraught when Javon began showing signs of distress, and Queen Antoinette actually removed him from her control in order to ensure that she didn’t disobey her order. After Javon’s death, Ms. Ramkissoon spent weeks by his decomposing body, praying for the resurrection Queen Antoinette told her would occur if only she had sufficient faith. This was not an individual who was acting out of a classic criminal intent (e.g. malice, anger, desire for revenge or gain), but rather a mother who has and will suffer anguish over the result of her inaction.

It is important to note that Ms. Ramkissoon’s attorney sought a finding of “not criminally responsible” for his client. (This is Maryland’s alternative to the old insanity defense.) The main reason she was not found “not criminally responsible” is because her “delusions” were of a religious nature and were shared by other people; therefore they could not be classified as a “mental disorder”. This opinion was provided by the State’s psychiatrist. The defense was prepared to present expert testimony that she was “not criminally responsible”.

It is also important to note that Ms. Ramkissoon was not simply released to freedom. A condition of her probation is that she remain in and successfully complete a long-term, in-patient, residential treatment program. This residential treatment facility was selected by DeVera Gilden, L.C.S.W.-C., a clinical forensic social worker, who works for the State’s Attorney’s Office in the Felony Family Violence Division. After reviewing many options, and visiting this facility, it was her judgment that this intensive program would offer the most appropriate supervision and therapeutic services necessary for Ms. Ramkissoon’s slow process of rehabilitation. Should she leave the facility “AMA”, fail to successfully complete the program, or violate any other condition of her probation, she could be incarcerated for 20 years (with credit for the 19 months she has already spent in jail).

(2) Why did the judge agree to let Ms. Ramkissoon withdraw her guilty plea if Javon is resurrected?

If Ms. Ramkissoon’s religious beliefs are correct, and Javon resurrects, then it would be legally appropriate for her attorney to file either a “Bill of Actual Innocence” or a “Motion to Reconsider Based on Newly Acquired Evidence”. That said, I do not share Ms. Ramkissoon’s religious beliefs, and I believe the likelihood of Javon’s resurrection in my lifetime is too remote to be a concern. (I carefully specified on the record that this condition involved resurrection of Javon’s body – not reincarnation into another body). Since Ms. Ramkissoon insisted on this condition, the State had no objection to it. The court simply accepted the plea agreement between the State and Defense.

(3) Did Ms. Ramkissoon receive special treatment because she is not “white”?

No.

(4) Did Ms. Ramkissoon receive special treatment because she is a submissive woman?

No. Marcus Cobbs was offered a plea deal, which his attorney rejected.

(5) Where was Javon’s father?

Javon’s father has not been involved in his son’s life to any significant degree. At the time of Javon’s birth, he was in jail. He has been physically abusive to Ms. Ramkissoon and other members of her family.

(6) Is the prosecutor too lenient?

As a prosecutor, my ethical obligation is to do justice, not to secure a conviction or the maximum possible sentence. In the case of Ria Ramkissoon, I believe the guilty plea and sentence were just – to her, to her mother, Seeta Newton, and to Javon. I believe this outcome is what Ms. Newton wanted and what Javon would have wanted. In other circumstances I would make different sentencing recommendations. In my last case, in which I prosecuted Mark Castillo for drowning his three children, I asked for and received a sentence of three consecutive life terms without parole. This was the harshest sentence the defendant could have received. It is my belief that justice requires a meticulous review of the facts and the evidence, the role of each defendant, and the wishes of the surviving, innocent family members. That is what I did in this case. I respect the fact that not everyone will agree with me, but I would ask those who disagree to take a careful look at the factors I considered, before rushing to judgment.


Julie Drake
Division Chief
Felony Family Violence Division
Office of the State’s Attorney for the Baltimore City

Mortgage Fraud

Some good stuff from CP's Ed Erikson on the role investors in the city's Well Fargo lawsuit. Looks like committing Mortgage fraud is lot easier and safer than being a drug dealer,

Jury to start deliberations on home invasion and murder of Baltimore businessman who was shot in the back of the head after he was only able to come up with $1500.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

B-more goes national

City officials who paid a sex offender while he was in prison for sexually abusing a minor are now getting national attention for their generosity.

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Police tweet, "STABBING - 2800 Harford Rd. Adult male fatally stabbed."
also
"SHOOTING - 1000 N. Broadway. Adult male shot. Alert and responding at this time. District Detective Units Investigating. about 8 hours ago via UberTwitter

UPDATE - 3313 PATON AVE. INCIDENT IS A HOMICIDE BY SHOOTING."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2 shootings

2 shootings in North Baltimore in no time

More funny

... Baltimore tourism promotion ad running on Facebook
bucketlist
testifying against "Turkey" ... asking for witness protection... dialing 911 and getting put on hold... writing assailant's name in blood on carpet...?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alleged Killers of Ken Harris to be tried in August

Marty Burns of the SAO writes,
"Monday, May 3, 2010 UPDATE on NEW TRIAL DATE: Prosecutors have been notified that the new trial date in this matter is August 30, 2010 before the Honorable David Ross. This matter is specially assigned for a date certain. MTB"
.. what does that mean?

Parking ticket amensty, mayhem

The city council wants to give scofflaws a second chance.

Man found face down on Baltimore Street with several gunshot wounds. One Hickey School escapee is caught.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jive Turkeys

Only two murders this week, only 53 so far this year!

35 years for "Turkey," associated with organization responsible for murder of Sintia Mesa

Anguished mom sees 2nd conviction for 2nd murdered child

... there's a headline: "U.S. ARMY SOLDIER SENTENCED TO OVER 17 YEARS IN PRISON FOR OPERATING A BROTHEL"; perp was a 23-year-old from Chillicothe, Ohio operating out of Millersville.

Day late & dollar short dept: after teacher Hanna Wheeling was murdered at Cheltenham, the Department of Juvenile Services "instituted several safety measures, in terms of increased lighting throughout the campus [and] implemented the buddy system for employees." In the meantime, Donald DeVore, head of Maryland's Department of Juvenile Services, honored Wheeling's years of service and brutal murder by shirking a requested appearance at the state house.

Man-up

City employee arrested trying to put manhole in car to sell for scrap.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crime Odds and Ends

In a bit of good news, an arrest is made in the killing of a 72 year old man.


Have you seen this man? He's wanted in connection with a slaying from earlier this month.


In yet another incident of bar violence, five people are stabbed near the Carlos O'Charlie's bar. Expect to see Carlos O'Charlie's facing severe padlock pressure from the BPD.


Watch, they'll still probably acquit him; a man is arrested after shooting another man in front of both security cameras and two city detectives.


And finally, life in prison for career offender and heroine kingpin David Rich.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Probation for Mom in Toddler Cult Death

Said prosecutor Julie Drake, "Ria and her child were just pawns in the Queen's fantasy world"

Media blabber

"Tribune Co. and its creditors agreed Monday to accept the appointment of an independent bankruptcy examiner in the Chapter 11 case, opening the door to further scrutiny of Tribune Co. Chairman Sam Zell's 2007 leveraged buyout of the Chicago-based media conglomerate." reports... the Tribune.
Malkovich Malkovich!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

F Your I

Says the SAO: "Closing arguments are to be set approximately at 11:30AM today in the Lamont Davis trial in court room 509 Courthouse East."
Hope someone not on the Sun editorial board drops in to report their impressions.

Payroll scandal

City employees who helped a sex offender stay on city payroll while in jail may face criminal charges.

Monday, April 12, 2010

no good deeds...

LOLZ! Feds say gang outreach program started with $400k of city money used as cover for Black Guerilla Family

Reisterstown Medicine Shoppe pharmacist gets six years in federalle prisonne for conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone

Keith and Kinard pled guilty to armed carjacking-- they were caught after the victim jumped out of the car at a red light!

What the ?! Colombia weirdo given 10 days in jail for wearing fake navy uniform

'Our view'

Thanks for pointing out this bull doody, non:
"At Lamont Davis’ trial, it was hard to tell the victims from the perps; all these young people have been betrayed by society’s indifference and neglect"

ps. I love how the url for this story ends "bs-ed-davis-trial-20100409,0,5637313.story"
Somebody at Sunspot knows what time it is!

.. and anyone else find it odd that the same paper that (rightfully) kvetches about the BPD not releasing officer's names doesn't have editors sign their own editorials?

47

(really 46.. but 47th noted here) "An adult male, the apparent victim of a shooting, was also found dead [yesterday] about 8:30 a.m. in the 5300 block of Denmore Ave." .. and three others wounded in shootings over the weekend.

Court records via Hermann: "Youth leader" Angleo Dangerfield shot over pit bull

It's the last day of the 2010 Annapolis session, and the sex offender bill is stalling. Is it just me, but did they not pass a whole lot of anything this session?

... not crime, but dingdong that's a lotta kablingy! Minority contractors score $84.6 million in federal dollars under the "stimulus package"

Clay family wants the iG report

The family said it will pressure SRB to release IG report on the death of Robert Clay, with hopes of getting the feds to open a civil rights case.

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A man shot and killed Sunday evening on the corner of North Avenue and Aisquith.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fatal carjack case dragged back to court

OMG! THIS case-- Bernard Eric Miller, charged with dragging Pam Basu to death with her own car as she tried to save her toddler. In 1993 my friend was a reporter at the Sun, and I went with her to the Towson courthouse for lack of anything better to do and ended up thoroughly traumatized. As awful as it sounds, the crime scene photos are worse. And I remember that lawyer-- his pants were too short and his hair was too long and he looked like he just rolled out of bed.
How awful this must be for that family. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Friday, April 9, 2010

SC Justice Stevens stepping down

this summer.
More on SCOTUS' most venerable member from the NYKer last month

Media blabber

Sun's corporate parent, the Tribune Co, is preparing to exit bankruptcy. Reports the WSJ:
The settlement signals that the creditors have agreed to wipe out much of Tribune's roughly $13 billion in debt. In return, under Tribune's plan, the lenders would own the media company.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More tax dollars at work

City pays $30K to four DPW workers arrested after failing to come to the aid of police officer during an arrest. Says their attorney, the officer was white, his clients were black, 'they could have been shot.'
"Bill on relationship violence flags in session"

How Far can it Go?

City amends, refiles lawsuit against Wells Fargo

Rise & Shine with the BPD

From Twitter:
GUN ARREST - Great job Central Dist. Raid @ 2100 blk Brookfield Ave yields 106 cocaine vials, 18 capsules heroin, .357 handgun. 5 arrested. 3 minutes ago via UberTwitter

GUN ARREST - Chris Swinson (3/30/90) arrested for illegal .22 cal gun, & 25 ziplocks marijuana @ 2100 blk of Bolton. 34 minutes ago via UberTwitter

SHOOTING, 2901 GREENMOUNT, ADULT MALE SHOT, about 4 hours ago via UberTwitter

SHOOTING, 5300 YORK, ADULT MALE SHOT. HOMICIDE UNIT REQUESTED about 4 hours ago via UberTwitter
... IV reports that the shooting on Greenmount was fatal, the victim an elderly man
... the Sun reports he was at a carryout.
Another victim at the Yau Brothers?

A car chase ended in a crash in front of Captain Larry's in South Baltimore

Police and prosecutors disagree on the utility of crime cameras. How about saving $ by cutting off the blue lights? They've got to be thoroughly annoying (and humiliating) to people who have to live next to them. Wonder if any residents or homeowners have asked the city to remove the lights from their property sight lines?

Two homicides in Northern district

Two men shot and one suspicious death.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Your tax $ at work

A $7.4 million judgment against the BPD for family of man who died in custody .. according to the Sun, the victim, arrested for public urination, was allegedly killed after officers put him cuffed without a seat belt in the van, then intentionally drove recklessly, fracturing his spine.

Info sought on pack of juveniles that stoned a dog

No show

The ME's office says they won't show for a council hearing on "undetermined" deaths.

Triple shooting, one dead

Triple shooting in Northeast Baltimore last night

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Butterfingers!

Another mistakenly released con, this time in Baltimore County

18-year-old Gary Knight of the Pasadena Denver Lanes Bloods got 17 years in the federal pen for drug dealing and carjacking, his pal Antonio White got 22 years for racketeering, in addition to the 40 years for handgun possession and 2nd-degree murder he got from the city. Sadly, neither press release tells us what their gang nicknames were.

And 10 federal years for hair-ron for Adrian Aulton. Aulton was apparently a co-conspirator of "Jr" and 'Turkey," who were implicated in the 2007 torture and murder of Sintia Mesa.

'Catholic conscience'

Last week's three homicides in the Ink

Reluctant witnesses in the trial of Lamont Davis

Law clinic to lose funding over chicken-poop suit

Ha! Judge who married victim to abuser says he was driven by his "Catholic conscience," adding "he had not read the case file, his standard practice." A level of diligence and scrutiny the pope himself would endorse!

Arrest in the murder of transvestite Darren Green, aka Kelly Bundy ... shockingly, the alleged perp was out of the clink with a suspended sentence.

"Bill targets public health risk from sale of used underwear"

Fifteen years after the murder of Kari Ann Sirbaugh, parents still seek answers

Hermann recounts the "top 10 self-defense killings"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The high price of self-defense

There's one to tell the grandkids... first humongously fat Marvin Cook Jr. breaks into 68-year-old William Bozeman's house ... then after Bozeman shoots him, Cook falls on top of Bozeman and bleeds out all over his bed. (Natch, Cook's family says he was "set up by someone")
Small world: Cook once was charged with firing shots at police union head Mark Cherry.

Topically, "The Maryland Senate has endorsed a measure that would protect people from lawsuits if they use deadly force to defend themselves"

and speaking of fat people, AAC police are ISO a Heinie-drinking counterfeiter

Pre-trial blahblahblah in the case of Lamont Davis, accused of shooting 5-year-old Raven Wyatt.

Two arrested for Chaz Village murder of "Young Gorilla" leader

Srlsy? "Marine's father ordered to pay Westboro's court costs"

A man shot in the head in Elkridge carjacking

"No apologies from Dixon" Sunday night

Saturday, March 27, 2010

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A 16-year-old boy, 1400 block of Luzerne Ave

Oopsiedaisies

Man shot by police for allegedly swallowing drugs, resisting arrest was actually choking on a Popsicle stick

Fenton on crime trends: everything's down but home invasions, "which are up considerably."
Now, that's interesting.. doesn't it seem like home invading would be a lot riskier and more effort for the perp than burgling, or robbing a business or pedestrian?

Right on! A major FBI raid of 30 business and 15 pawn stars. More from WJZ (Who buys their toiletries at a pawn shop?)

Kids held bake sales to save the police horses, but no one seems too misty-eyed about the ghetto bird becoming an endangered species

Former mayor Dixon's first one-on-one interview
since her indictment will be with Richard Sher Sunday night at 6:30 on WMAR.

An arrest in the TU dorm burglary