Saturday, December 15, 2007

If you are easily annoyed...

...don't read today's post!

Stats: only 16 percent of murder cases ever go to a jury, and in 2006, 27.8 percent of cases ended in the state declining to prosecute or an acquittal.
Wonder how that compares to other jurisdictions?

In what may well be the worst-written and most annoying op-ed piece of the year-- Olesker columns included-- the Sun's "Back of the Bus" compares rowdy students to victims of Jim-Crow segregation laws.

Mayor Dixon uses her crystal ball to probe the #64-bus attackers' souls, and reassures citizens that the beating was not racially motivated, in spite of the victims' reports that the attack was unprovoked, they weren't robbed, and "the whole time of the beating, it was white this and white that."
Meanwhile, five days after the attack the Sun's finally gotten around to covering the incident with 220 words and a nonexistent address. There are two new pictures though, a sixth guy and a second shot of the fifth guy:
Suspect #4?bus suspect #6

Some Southside/ New Era students feel that police used excessive force to quell Thursday's riot.

County police: "There’s no indication there’s organized gang activity in Towson." (The "county's crown jewel"?)

Gregory Kane on the Randallstown shooting verdict.

"The bandits struck three times in Carroll County ... 'It surprised me they'd do it around here in Carroll County---bust into a store,' said customer Robert Triplett, 'It don't make no sense.' But Maryland State Police say it made plenty of dollars and 'cents' for a trio of men who share the same last name from the same family."

Friday, December 14, 2007

December 14

A man was shot in the back last night in the 500 block of North Bouldin Street, condition unknown.

A city jury yesterday convicted Raymond Handy of first-degree murder in the drug-related killing of Mark C. Jones in May 2005.

Concerned that rogue bail bondsmen are making a “mockery” of the bail bond system, Mrs. Jessamy is asking the state for new laws to regulate the industry.

CJCC: Let's free the junkies

Lawsuit: Aurora Organic Dairy = a sham

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pics of Bus Beating Suspects; Sweet 16 Guilty Verdict

Bus beating suspect #1Bus beating suspect #2Bus beating suspect #3Bus beating suspect #4Bus beating suspect #5

The MTA has released photos of five #64 bus-attackers-- four long days after the assault. If you see any of them, call the MTA police at 410-454-7720 so that they may respond with sluggish apathy. On second thought, call WBAL first.

Jamal Charles, 17, and Dwayne Drake, 18, were both found guilty of second-degree murder in the "Sweet 16" killing of Bryant C. Jones.

Soon after the CP revealed abuse and neglect allegations lurking in the past of the new director of Maryland's juvenile detention facilities, Chris "the Colonel" Perkins has resigned from the position.

Police arrested Kweisi Battle, 24, Maurice Barfield, 28, and 15-year-old Kevin Reverley for three unrelated shootings in the city.

Seven students were arrested for brawling on a football field after someone called in a fake bomb scare.

December 13

WTF?! Another bus attack?! WBAL reports that Patrick Green and Robert Rothe were assaulted by a group of seven teenagers hurling racial slurs on the #64 Monday night, and the driver refused to call the police for help!
Here's pictures.

A woman was shot at about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 2800 block of Boarman Avenue, her condition is unknown.

Wednesday before last, the body of 40-year-old Tracy Watford was found in the harbor near the Hanover St. bridge. It is not known "where, when and under what circumstances" Watford got there.

Though Davon Pearson's fiancé and mother testified that he had been at a neighborhood candlelight vigil protesting violence among young men, on Monday a jury convicted him of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. Details:
Late in the evening on August 2, 2006 Pearson met up with an associate only identified as “Bobby” in the area of the 400 block of East Lynn Avenue. Witnesses testified that “Bobby” asked Pearson to “take care of a problem for him” in exchange for an ounce of cocaine. Just past midnight, “Bobby” provided Pearson with a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Pearson then followed the Victim, Howard Jones, onto the 2600 block and shot him in the back of the head. Mr. Jones died on the street. Multiple eye-witnesses identified him as Mr. Jones’ killer.
Judge Kaye Allison scheduled sentencing for February 4, 2008 and Pearson faces a maximum possible prison term of life for the conspiracy to commit murder, 30 years for the second degree murder and 20 years for the handgun count.

On Tuesday a man was shot in the 400 block of Mt. Holly St., he's in critical condition. Also an arrest in the murder of 16-year-old Estefany Gonzalez.
Plus robberies, stolen license plates, copper wiring, video games, tools and so on in the Blotter.

The final witness in the Sweet 16 murder of Bryant C. Jones testified that she saw co-defendant Jamal Charles extend his arm from his body during a confrontation with Jones, then saw flashes of light.

"Nearly 18 months after the death of [corrections officer David] McGuinn -- and almost a year after the prison was closed -- questions have emerged about the mishandling of potentially key evidence and the impact it could have on the prosecution of the two inmates accused in his killing."

Suspected Blood Gary Watson was sentenced to two months in prison and anger-management classes for his role in the 2006 Fourth of July riot at the Inner Harbor; "Stop Fucking Snitching!" cameraman Akiba Matthews was indicted on drug charges yesterday.

The handgun registry explained: it's a way to catch VOPs.

Former city firefighter Angelo Sudano, age 32, was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release for distributing child pornography.

County perversity dept: Westminster's Deborah Gail Frock will face federal charges for pimping her 17-year-old cousin; a MoCo deacon has been charged with 10 counts of incest.

The senate is quite cross with Baltimore's highest-paid drug addicts, Miguel Tejada and Jay Gibbons.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12

"The wife of a Southwest Baltimore man killed last year during their daughter's Sweet 16 party testified yesterday to hearing one of the co-defendants yell, "Show him how we do it," before gunshots rang out, according to trial testimony yesterday."

Harsh in the county! One of the teens charged in the Randallstown school shooting, Mathew McCullough, was sentenced to 100 years.

Police yesterday identified the man shot Monday night in the 6100 block of Boston St. in O'Donnell Heights and who died that night at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center as Artavius Tubman, 24 ... A man, 28, was standing outside a carryout in the 300 block of E. North Ave. about 3 a.m. Sunday when an unknown male shot him several times. Plus robbery, arson, and burglary in your Blotter.

CP: "The Colonel," the recently appointed head of Maryland's Victor Cullen Academy for youth offenders, has a dodgy past.

Thar she blows! "Baltimore City drug dealers are having a harder time finding cocaine to sell, because the U.S. Coast Guard this year seized more than $4.7 billion worth" of booger sugar.

Gregory Kane on the Sowers verdict.
Op Ed: In defense of the prosecutors, 40 years is much more time than what most murderers get in the city, and the state had only circumstantial evidence and the testimony of a teenager trying to save himself from jail to go on (the other two guys were in the car and didn't see the beating). Anna Sowers may have been okay with risking an acquittal to make a point, but prosecutors also have a duty to everyone else who has to live here. Why the defense attorney would accept the deal with sparse evidence we don't know-- it's possible Ramos himself didn't want to risk a trial, especially considering that WBAL reported that "[Judge] Themelis and Ramos' defense attorney [Larry Rosenberg] both agreed that Ramos was a 'bad guy,' citing his criminal history."
ps. how did Doc Cheatham managed to insert himself in this story?

A Baltimore City jury convicted Bobby Hough, 23, of the 2500 block of Ridgely Street of attempted first-degree murder and carrying a deadly weapon with the intent to injure today. Jurors heard one day of testimony and deliberated approximately three hours before reaching their verdict. Judge M. Brooke Murdock scheduled sentencing for March 13, 2008 where Hough faces a maximum prison term of life. Details:
On May 1, 2006 Hough was in the 2000 block of Ellsworth Street when he picked up the victim, Rodney Armstead, 42, turned him upside down and rammed his head into the pavement. He then stomped on Armstead before picking up a bottle and hitting him with it, rendering Armstead a quadriplegic. They had been arguing over the sale of illegal narcotics on the block prior to the incident. Assistant State’s Attorneys Staci Pipkin and Michelle Martin of the General Trial Division prosecuted this case.

No Murders!

The Ink confirms it!
Before last night's shooting, Baltimore went nine days without a murder!
That may well be the longest stretch in decades.
Somebody's doing something right!
Who/what do you think it is?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

From the SA's Office: Murderer Nabbed on VOP

Bruce L. Smith, 28, of Southwest Baltimore, was sentenced to 28years in prison after Judge Sylvester Cox found him guilty of violating his probation at a hearing held in Baltimore Circuit Court on December 7, 2007.

In December 2005, Smith pleaded guilty before the Honorable Sylvester Cox to second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in connection to two separate shooting incidents which occurred in the West Baltimore and Hilton Streets area of Southwest Baltimore in December 2004.

The State was left with little choice but to offer a plea to the defendant after the State’s primary identification witnesses recanted their identification of the defendant that they had previously made to the police. In each case, Mr. Smith was sentenced to 30 years with all but time served and the remaining time, about 28-years, was suspended. He was also placed on 4-years of probation. The two sentences were to be served concurrent to one another.

As part of his conditions of probation, Mr. Smith was required to obey all laws and prohibited from possessing any handguns or illegal narcotics.

Fourteen months later, on the afternoon of April 9, 2007, police working in the Southwest District observed Bruce Smith slowly drive his fiancĂ©’s car onto Ellamont Street – just three of blocks from where he was convicted of murdering Lenny Curtis.

There were two other men in the car with Mr. Smith. From their location, the officers watched as a man nodded his head at the car. Mr. Smith stopped the car in the middle of the street in order to talk to the man who, after speaking with Mr. Smith, went around to the passenger side of the car and exchanged a large sum of cash wrapped in a rubber band for suspected illegal narcotics. Mr. Smith then drove his car away.

When the under cover officers caught up with Mr. Smith a few blocks later, they observed three men moving about the cabin of the car and around the center console where they observed a wad of cash - $1600 in all – sitting on the lap of the rear passenger. Police placed all three men under arrest and a search of the men and the center console of the car revealed 17 grams of cocaine in rock and powder form, 5 grams of heroin, 8 grams of a cutting agent called mannitol, a digital scale with cocaine residue on it, and a loaded .38 caliber handgun.

Both the Office of the State’s Attorney and the Office of Parole and Probation requested Judge Sylvester Cox issue a Violation of Probation warrant shortly after on the events of April 9, 2007.

Because the defendant faced a maximum sentence of 28 years, 8 months for a violation of his probation to Judge Cox, the State elected to proceed with the violation of probation hearing first and try that case directly to Judge Cox instead of proceeding with a jury trial on the felony narcotics and handgun charges.

On December 7, 2007, the Defendant was brought before Judge Cox to answer for the charges of violating his probation. At that time, Mr. Smith elected to enter into a plea agreement with the State. He admitted guilt to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it, and to the illegal possession of a handgun. In addition he also admitted to violating the terms of his probation.

In delivering his sentence on these cases, Judge Cox recalled his admonishment to the defendant during the sentencing hearing on the murder and attempted murder cases and that he would sentence the defendant to all 28-years for a violation, even a technical one. Judge Cox went on to say that this was more than just a technical violation and then proceeded to sentence the defendant to 28-years to the Department of Correction for violating the terms of his probation and to 20-years to the Department of Correction for the possession with intent to distribute cocaine and 5-years without parole for illegally possessing the handgun. All of the sentences will be served concurrently.

Assistant State’s Attorney E. Wesley Adams prosecuted the case.

25 Years for Murderer of 15-Year-Old Travis Harris

In a hearing today before Judge Roger W. Brown, Mathaddues Rozier, 26, of the 400 block of North Kenwood Ave., pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Rozier admitted to killing Travis Harris, 15, in the 500 block of North Glover Street on December 27, 2005. Harris was shot once in the forehead at point blank range 10 minutes after the murder of Rozier’s father, Alvester Rozier, 79.

Prosecutors entered a nol pros in the murder case against Mathaddues Rozier charging him with the murder of his father, citing evidentiary issues that would prevent the case from proceeding to trial. Although the murders were linked by ballistics evidence from the crime scenes, the murder weapon was never found and there were no witnesses to the murder of Alvester Rozier, other than a small child that was in his care.

The Baltimore City Grand Jury indicted Rozier February 6, 2006 for two counts of first-degree murder.

Assistant State’s Attorney Robyne Szokoly prosecuted the case.

December 11

A man was shot to death last night on the 6100 block of Boston St.

Remember the "Sweet 16" murder? The trial is on now, and the most recent news is that prosecutors are having a hard time placing the gun in the suspect's hand-- in spite of a room full of partygoers.

The family of Glen Stewart, 17, whose burning body was found in a Baltimore County park, is appealing to the public for leads.

Davon Pearson was found guilty of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence in the killing of Howard Jones, 36, August 3 of last year.

Joshua Kahn Leslie, 31, charged in a warrant with attempted murder in a shooting June 25 on a street in O'Donnell Heights, was arrested at a homeless shelter in Griffin, Ga., "A district police officer was on foot patrol near the Northwood Shopping Center about 9:25 a.m. yesterday when he was approached by three young males, one of whom had been shot in lower back."

Nearly three years after prosecutors dropped attempted-murder charges against Antonio R. Jackson, accused of bringing a gun to Randallstown High School used in the shootings that left one student paralyzed and three others injured, authorities have found Ronald P. Johnson Jr., the witness that prosecutors said they need to bring the suspect to trial. (And Johnson looks way to happy about it!)

Meanwhile, city middle- and high-school principals are being given the option to have metal detectors installed.

The "boys" who poured lye on a slide and injured a toddler were found 'delinquent.' (is biology to blame?)
An gimme someadem crullers! County police are looking for a suspect with a receding hairline, right, who robbed an Essex Dunkin Donuts-- twice

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ramos Gets Plea Deal

Forty years for Trayvon Ramos, who pleaded guilty to beating Zach Sowers into a coma.

Says the SA's office:
Prosecutors reviewed the evidence in the case that included one fingerprint from Ramos on a car near the crime scene and testimony from a neighbor, who would have testified that, from his apartment window, could not positively identify, he observed a large person using a punching motion. Jeter and Price remained in a parked car around the block from the crime scene and Martin accompanied Ramos, but did not inflict any of the kicks and punches.

In accepting the plea today, Judge Themelis noted that there is a difference between a judge’s and jury’s interpretation of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted first degree murder. The State proceeded with this plea taking into account the best interest of public safety and after reviewing the evidence and witness statements against the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt required in court.
Sowers' family members are "disgusted" and "in despair."

WBAL reports that during a plea agreement bench conference, Judge John Themelis said, "How am I going to justify this to the victim's wife?" and Ramos' attorney replied, "Nothing you say to this lady is going to make a difference."

MTA: No Video of Beating

A 16-year-old boy was shot this morning in the 4200 block of Nicholas Avenue near Belair Road, he's in critical condition.

MTA source: There is no video of last week's bus beating.

Jury selection begins this morning for Trayvon Ramos, the fourth suspect charged in the near-fatal beating of Zach Sowers.

In the county, three people were stabbed at Lecompte's restaurant at 4015 Annapolis Road and one has died. Suspects are in custody.

"Proposal to Let Noncitizens Join Md. Police Under Review"

Gird your downspouts! Metal thievery is more than a local annoyance, it's an international trend as base-metal prices soar.

The Supreme Court has ruled that judges may impose shorter prison terms for crack cocaine crimes, enhancing judicial discretion.

The Blotter has your robberies and burglaries.

Ideas this town needs: community urinalysis, cold-case playing cards, bulletproof backpacks.