State's Attorney's Office - News

Media Contact

Our media relations staff welcomes news media requests for information about the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office and the criminal justice system. Please contact:

T. Wayne Kirwan
Director of Community Justice & Public Information
Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office
Phone: 410-313-3002
FAX: 410-313-3003
e-mail: wkirwan@howardcountymd.gov

For all other types of inquiries, please refer to the information listed under the “Contact Us” section of our Web site, contact us via e-mail at sao@howardcountymd.gov, or call our main phone number at 410-313-2108.

Waldorf Man Sentenced in Beating and Sexual Assault of Jessup Woman

December 9, 2016

A 46-year-old Waldorf man was sentenced to 30 years in prison, yesterday, for the March brutal beating and sexual assault of his girlfriend in her Jessup residence.  Robert Nathaniel Jones, of the 10000 block of Poplarwood Court, was convicted of attempted second-degree sex offense and second degree assault at the conclusion of a three-day trial in September. 

At the sentencing hearing Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer W. Ritter told Judge Richard S. Bernhardt that at the time of the attack, Jones was on probation for the first-degree assault on his -wife in 2007.  “This is an incredibly violent, dangerous man, and he is particularly dangerous to the women who love him,” stated Ritter.

Police responded to a woman’s 911 call on the evening of March 18 where they discovered the 45-year old woman crying while sitting on the floor of her kitchen.  Jones was standing over her and police observed that he appeared to be intoxicated.  Jones was arrested based on the visible injuries to the victim which included cuts on the inside of her lip and elbow, and swelling in the area of her nose.  The injuries were consistent with the woman’s initial report that Jones had knocked her to the ground in the kitchen and hit her repeatedly with the back of a chair.  The woman also reported being strangled by Jones.  Once Jones was removed from the residence, the woman disclosed to police Jones had sexually assault her with an object shortly before the second altercation in the kitchen.  Although she refused transport to the hospital that night, the woman did go to Howard County General Hospital the next day for treatment.  Injuries consistent with the sexual assault that was described were observed during a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination.

Ritter pointed out that during the trial, transcripts of “manipulative” text messages between the two revealed that after his arrest, Jones wanted his girlfriend not to testify against him in an attempt to derail the case.  And on the eve of the sentencing hearing a friend of Jones called the victim, urging her to “do whatever” she could so that Jones wouldn’t spend 20 years in prison.  In her victim impact testimony, the woman told the court that she had “lost all sense of normalcy and security,” and that “the only emotions left,” after such an attack, “are fear and survival.”

At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing Judge Bernhardt admonished Jones that that the assaults were committed “to further debase and demean this woman, to further your control, to break her down to absolutely nothing—which makes it even more horrendous… (and) makes you even more dangerous.”  The judge sentenced Jones to 20 years in prison for the attempted sex offense, and a consecutive 10-year term for second-degree assault.


Laurel Man Pleads Guilty to Disarming Police Officer in Attempted Escape

December 6, 2016

A 20-year-old Laurel man, who assaulted a veteran police officer during an escape attempt from custody last summer, has pleaded guilty of disarming a law enforcement officer.  Shariff Abdulmilik Aroi, of the 15000 block of Gorman Road, pleaded guilty in Howard County Circuit Court on Monday.

According to prosecutors, Aroi was arrested around 1:30 a.m. on August 10 following a traffic stop. He was unable to produce personal identification or registration for the vehicle he was driving on Mission Road near Guilford Road. Aroi was transported to central booking in Jessup. At the sally-port entrance to the facility, the police officer discovered that Aroi had maneuvered the handcuffs from behind his back to in front of his body.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Ritter told the court that as Aroi was being removed from the backseat of the police cruiser he lunged at the officer, launching a struggle for the officer’s Glock 22 firearm which was holstered. Ritter stated that during the struggle, Aroi attempted to bite the officer’s ear and did bite the patrolman on his arm. Ritter stated that once Aroi was subdued he exclaimed, “Why didn’t you kill me? Just kill me; I can’t go back to jail.”  A search of Aroi’s vehicle turned up a brown Louis Vuitton bag containing plastic baggies believed to contain marijuana and cocaine, a pellet pistol, and a digital scale.

At Monday’s hearing, Aroi also pleaded guilty to violating his probation on an unrelated sex offense charge. Aroi was on five years of supervised probation when he was arrested in the traffic stop last August. Judge Richard S. Bernhardt set an April 3 sentencing date.


Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Solicitation of Law Enforcement Officer Posing as a Minor

December 1, 2016

A 32-year-old Columbia man pleaded guilty to sexual solicitation of a law enforcement officer posing as a minor in Howard County Circuit Court this morning. Ryan Lee Parham of the 10000 block of Swansfield Road was arrested last May by Maryland State Police investigators from the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

On Tuesday, May 24, task force investigators conducted a proactive operation involving the online sexual solicitation of minors by monitoring the classified advertisement website Craigslist. According to prosecutors, during the covert operation Parham communicated online with an undercover officer posing as a minor .Parham, who expressed a desire to meet up with the minor and to engage in sexual activity, was arrested when he drove to a Walgreen’s drugstore in Columbia to rendezvous with what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl.

At the conclusion of this morning’s plea hearing, Judge William V. Tucker set a sentencing date of February 21, 2017.

Glenelg Man Pleads Guilty in Marijuana Grow Operation

November 30, 2016

A 49-year-old Glenelg man was convicted on a drug charge related to large-scale marijuana-grow operation in his residence. Daniel Earl Sims, formerly of the 14000 block of Triadelphia Rd. pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute in Howard County Circuit Court this morning.

Police discovered the drugs on May 6 after they were called to mediate a civil dispute. Another man had purchased the property on an online auction and he subsequently discovered that the house was occupied. Officers approaching the house detected the strong odor of fresh marijuana, especially on one side of the dwelling where ventilation fans were operating. Sims answered the front door and told police that he had leased the residence until 2017 through a realty firm.

Tactical officers, along with vice and narcotics detectives returned later that day with a search and seizure warrant for the premises. Assistant State’s Attorney Maurice Frazier told the court that police discovered “an extremely large, highly sophisticated” operation consisting of advanced lighting, ventilation and watering systems. The basement was divided into rooms where marijuana plants were sorted and cultivated based on the plants’ growth stage. Police also seized a metal safe containing $75,000 in cash.

Judge William V. Tucker set a March 24 sentencing date for Daniel Sims. He remains free on $50,000 bond.

Laurel Man Convicted in Murder-for-Hire Scheme

November 22, 2016

A Laurel man who offered $15,000 to an undercover police detective to murder the man’s wife has pleaded guilty to the murder-for hire scheme.  Aafaq Manejwala, 37, of the 8700 block of Polished Pebble Way, pleaded guilty to a single count of solicitation to commit murder in Howard County Circuit Court on Monday.

At the plea hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Susan Weinstein told the court that a woman that Manejwala met as a result of a Craigslist ad for sexual services was the informant who tipped off police.  Weinstein stated that Manejwala solicited the woman to commit the murder but she, instead, went to the Laurel Police Department which subsequently contacted Howard County Police.

A police detective, posing as the woman’s cousin from North Carolina, was introduced to Manejwala as a hit man who could kill Manejwala’s wife as she slept, and make the crime look like a home invasion robbery or burglary. The two men had a series of planning meetings that took place in High Ridge Park in Laurel last March.  At their final meeting, held at 6 a.m. on March 29, Manejwala handed the detective five, $20 bills as a deposit and set a target date of May 5.

Weinstein said that Manejwala was arrested after he returned home from the meeting.  Police seized his financial records which showed that “he had tremendous debts to pay.”  Police also found a $1 million life insurance policy on his wife.

Manejwala’s family, including his wife, mother and father, were present in the courtroom during the hearing. Judge Timothy J. McCrone set a sentencing date of January 26, 2017.  Weinstein stated that prosecutors will ask for a 20-year prison sentence.

Mount Airy Woman Jailed for Series of Burglaries and Thefts

November 16, 2016

A Mount Airy woman arrested in a series of residential burglaries and the theft of telephone cable from utility poles in western Howard County and Carroll County has been sentenced to an 18-month jail term.  Angela Marie King, 33, of the 6600 block of Runkles Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft scheme between $10,000 and $100,000 in Howard County Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon.

Assistant State’s Attorney Scott A. Hammond told the court that King and a co-defendant were arrested after Howard County police detectives observed the two burglarizing a residence in Carroll County on June 26.  Hammond stated that King was involved in 10 residential burglaries in Howard County last June.  He characterized the burglaries as “crimes of opportunity,” all from homes with open garage doors.  King admitted to police that she committed the burglaries while her co-defendant remained in his pickup truck nearby.Items stolen from the garages included high-value bicycles, chain saws, golf clubs, and leaf blowers, all of which were pawned.

King also was convicted for her role in a theft scheme where live telephone cable containing hundreds of strands of copper wiring was cut from utility poles and sold for scrap. Hammond stated that from June 9-18, 2016, hundreds of feet of cable were cut and removed from ten locations in Glenwood, Clarksville and Sykesville. The line-cutting reportedly caused service disruptions for Verizon Communications customers.  Hammond said that the telephone cable weighed hundreds of pounds and that the replacement cost was $87,000.

King apologized to Judge Mary M. Kramer who sentenced King to 10 years, suspending all but 18 months to be served at the Howard County Detention Center. Upon release, King will be placed on two years of supervised probation.

Angela King’s co-defendant, Thomas Leo Hurley, 35, of the 14000 block of Frederick Road, Woodbine, is scheduled for trial on January 31, 2017.

Laurel Man Convicted in 2015 Murder of His Wife

November 14, 2016

A Laurel man has been convicted of the 2015 murder of his wife after entering an Alford plea in Howard County Circuit Court this morning. Jason W. Martin entered the plea to the second-degree murder of Carla Dee Martin, 42.  An Alford plea is a guilty plea that a defendant makes as part of a plea bargain, without actually admitting guilt but conceding that the state has sufficient evidence to convict.

Police responded to the Martin home at 11 p.m. on October 24, 2015 after receiving a 911 call from the Martins’ next door neighbor in the 9500 block of Glen Ridge Drive. The neighbor reported that Jason Martin showed up at his house, along with his children ages 12, 8, and 6.  Assistant State’s Attorney Devora Kirschner told the court that when the neighbor answered his front door Martin, whose clothes and face were covered with blood splatter stated, “I think I killed Carla.”  Kirschner said that Martin told the neighbor that he had a fight with his wife and “hit her with a dumbbell.”  Prosecutors stated that all three children were sleeping in the Martin home when the murder occurred.

After calling 911 the neighbor went to the Martin residence where he discovered Carla Martin on the basement floor. A bloodied dumbbell was nearby. Carla Martin was unresponsive but had a pulse. Paramedics transported her to Laurel Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

After finding Martin guilty, Judge Richard S. Bernhardt set a three-day sentencing hearing for March 13-16, 2017. Martin faces up to 30 years in prison for the murder of his wife.

Former Credit Union Employee Convicted of Theft

November 10, 2016

A former customer service representative who worked in the Columbia office of SECU credit union has pleaded guilty to a theft scheme that defrauded the financial institution of nearly $7,000.  Dontae Christopher Thompson, 32, of the 5100 block of Brook Way, Columbia, pleaded guilty to a single count of theft—$1,000 to under $10,000 in Howard County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Credit union officials contacted police in the spring of 2015 after discovering that a half dozen new bank accounts were opened without legally-required proper identification, for Thompson’s family and friends.  Howard County Assistant State’s Attorney Tricia Cecil told the court that Thompson used blank starter checks from closed accounts at other financial institutions to make opening deposits into new SECU accounts and subsequently withdrew cash from the fraudulent accounts using SECU’s ATM machines.  Cecil stated that Thompson came into possession of the starter checks from his former employment with M&T Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

Thompson will be sentenced on March 15, 2017.