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.

 

Woodbine Man Jailed for Series of Burglaries and Telephone Wire Thefts

January 31, 2017

A Woodbine man arrested in a series of residential burglaries and the theft of cable from telephone poles in western Howard County and Carroll County has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.  Thomas Leo Hurley, 36, of the 14000 block of Frederick Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft scheme between $10,000 to under $100,000 in the burglary and theft cases in Howard County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

 

Assistant State’s Attorney Scott A. Hammond told the court that Hurley and a co-defendant were arrested after undercover Howard County police detectives observed the two burglarizing a residence in Carroll County on June 26, 2016.  Hammond stated that Hurley 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.  Hurley admitted to police that his co-defendant committed the burglaries while he 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.

 

Hurley also was convicted for his 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 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.

 

Hurley apologized to Judge Timothy J. McCrone who sentenced Hurley to 10 years, suspending all but 18 months to be served at the Howard County Detention Center.  Upon release, he will be placed on three years of supervised probation.  Hurley was ordered to make restitution to the burglary victims and a judgment of $131,167.31 was entered in favor of Verizon.

 

Hurley’s co-defendant, Angela Marie King, 33, of the 6600 block of Runkles Road, Mount Airy, pleaded guilty to similar charges last fall and was sentenced to an 18-month jail term.


Laurel Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Soliciting Murder of His Wife

January 30, 2017

A Laurel man who pleaded guilty, last fall, to offering $15,000 to an undercover police detective to murder the man’s wife was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Aafaq Manejwala, 37, of the 8700 block of Polished Pebble Way, was sentenced in Howard County Circuit Court on Monday.

At last November’s plea hearing, prosecutors stated that a woman that Manejwala met as a result of a Craigslist ad for sexual services tipped off police. 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, 2016. After his arrest, police seized financial records which showed him heavily in debt.Police also found a $1 million life insurance policy on his wife.

At Monday’s hearing Assistant State’s Attorney Doug Nelsen stated that the act of soliciting the murder of “your child’s mother is vicious and heinous.” He said that Manejwala was unhappy in his marriage, that he had relationships with other women and “didn’t believe in divorce.”

Manejwala’s defense attorney produced a forensic psychiatrist who detailed Manejwala’s history of depression, anxiety, and an unhappy marriage that “impacted his thinking and behavioral controls.” Manejwala’s father and twin brother spoke on his behalf, along with his wife. She told the judge that the events of the past year were “painful and not easy to understand” but that her husband was a “kind, caring, loving person.” Manejwala apologized to his wife and family and stated that he was “forever remorseful.” Referring to his young son he stated, “The most important thing that a father can do for his child is to love his mother, and I love her in epic proportions.”

Howard County Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. McCrone took particular note of her willingness to forgive her husband but chastised Manejwala for the “cold and calculating manner in which (he) planned to kill his wife. He sentenced Manejwala to 50 years in prison, suspending all but 20 years and ordered him to serve five years on probation upon his release.

Baltimore Man Pleads Guilty/Is Sentenced in 2013 Columbia Homicide

January 27, 2017

 

A 48-year-old Baltimore man has pleaded guilty to his complicity in the 2013 murder of a Columbia man outside of his apartment.  Raymond Gerod Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and was sentenced to 10-years in prison by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Lenore R. Gelfman this morning.

 

Omar Oliver, 39, of the 5200 block of Brook Way was shot multiple times around 1:30 a.m. on May 16, 2013.  Police received a 911 call from Oliver’s daughter who reported hearing gunshots outside.  When Oliver’s wife looked out the window she saw her husband on the ground, and a dark mid-size sedan driving away from the parking lot.  She ran outside and performed CPR until paramedics arrived who pronounced him dead at the scene.  Smith and another, man, Sheldon Lamart Richburg, 50, were charged in June 2015 following a lengthy investigation. 

 

At Friday’s plea hearing Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Ritter told Judge Gelfman that Oliver and Smith had connections to the Cherry Hill neighborhood in South Baltimore.  Oliver parked his trucking company vehicles on Reedbird Lane across from a Department of Public Works sanitation yard where Smith worked.  Police detectives also discovered that in May 1999, Oliver was charged with the murder of Smith’s friend, Shawn Sudler, who lived in Cherry Hill.  Ritter stated that though the charges against Oliver were ultimately dropped, in the Cherry Hill neighborhood it was believe that bad feelings persisted between Smith and Oliver.

 

Police were also able to tie Smith to Oliver’s murder after a forensic analysis of two cell phones recovered after he led Baltimore City Police on a high-speed chase on September 20, 2013, and a series of jailhouse phone calls between Smith and Richburg in 2014.  Ritter also told the judge about a jailhouse informant who had been incarcerated with Smith at the Howard County Detention Center.  Smith had confided in him about the homicide, telling him that a fourth man had ordered the hit on Oliver because he believed Oliver was involved with his girlfriend.

 

During the sentencing phase of the hearing former Howard County prosecutor, Anne Arundel County Deputy State’s Attorney Claude deVastey-Jones called Smith’s actions a nearly 15-year-old “grudge” which had become “pure vigilantism.”  Smith apologized to Oliver’s family, who were seated in the courtroom, many of whom presented victim impact statements.

 

Sheldon Richburg will be tried for his role in Oliver’s murder on April 3, 2017.

Laurel Man Convicted of Human Trafficking

January 27, 2017

A Howard County jury has convicted a Laurel man of the human trafficking of two girls, ages 13 and 16.Arthur Billy Coleman, 47, of the 1300 block of Larchdale Road was found guilty ofseven counts of human trafficking, attempting human trafficking and prostitution charges at the conclusion of a 3 ½-day trial this afternoon. Jurors deliberated over five hours before returning their verdicts.

When Coleman was arrested, last July, the two girls accompanying him in his car were runaway foster children under the supervision of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services (DSS).Neither girl testified against Coleman. Both girls have subsequently run away again from DSS oversight and remain missing.

According to police and prosecutors, on July 22, 2016, Coleman drove the two girls to the Howard County Public Library on Cradlerock Way to meet a third girl who expressed an interest in making money. That third girl was an undercover Howard County police detective posing as a young girl in order to recover the runaways, one of whom was featured in numerous online prostitution ads, including the website Backpage.

Though without the testimony of the two runaway girls, Assistant State’s Attorney Colleen McGuinn and police presented reams of evidence recovered from multiple cellphone text and e-mail messages—some of which contained photos of the girls in provocative poses, plus web browsing histories, and the placement of Internet ads and hotel reservations.

During the trial McGuinn told the jury that vice and narcotics detectives recognized Coleman from a chance encounter, two days prior to his arrest, at a Laurel motel. It was there that Coleman introduced himself and presented a business card for his adult service business to an undercover detective posing as a prostitute in a separate sting operation. Police believe Coleman was attempting to recruit her to work for him.

Following the verdict, Howard County Circuit Court Judge Mary M. Kramer ordered a pre-sentence investigation of Coleman and set a sentencing date of April 6, 2017. Coleman, who is being held without bond, faces a potential maximum sentence of over 100 years in prison.

Capitol Heights Man Pleads Guilty to iPhone Thefts

January 17, 2017

A 20-year old Capitol Heights man has pleaded guilty to the theft of almost $3100 worth of iPhones and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Kalil Jamal Enge of the 1200 block of Benning Rd. pleaded guilty in Howard County Circuit Court this morning.

County police were dispatched to the apple store at The Mall in Columbia on Monday, May 30, 2016 for a late-reported theft of 12 iPhone 6S smart phones. Surveillance video from the previous day showed two suspects walk to the rear counter of the store. One suspect stood in front of the counter inspecting merchandise while the second suspect, later identified as Enge, went behind the counter, opened a drawer and removed a dozen of what the store called “replacement service phones.” The phones were concealed in a satchel and the two exited the store shortly after 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 29.

Howard County Assistant State’s Attorney Natasha Blount told the court that the theft was part of a “huge ongoing problem up and down the east coast for (these) Apple stores.” Security personnel from the apple store had identified Enge based on photo and video from previous thefts. Byus told the court that the Howard County theft was Enge’s fourth theft offense since 2015.

Enge apologized to the court but at the conclusion of the hearing Judge Timothy J. McCrone sentenced Enge to 18 months in jail, suspending all but 90 days. He also placed Enge on three years of supervised probation upon release, ordered him to complete 20 hours of community service and entered a judgment of restitution for $3,099.

Columbia Man Jailed Following Fifth DUI

January 10, 2017

A Columbia man was sentenced to 18 months in jail following his fifth conviction on driving under the influence of alcohol.Frederick William Wright, 36, of the 6500 block of Quiet Hours pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), per se in Howard County District Court on Tuesday afternoon. Driving under the influence “per se” means that a subsequent test of the driver’s blood or breath exceeded the legal limit for alcohol.

Wright was arrested on October 3, 2016 at the scene of an accident on eastbound MD Route 108 at Red Branch Road where he rear-ended another vehicle in the left turn lane.At the time of the accident Wright’s driver’s license had been suspended.The other driver told police that following the accident Wright poured the contents of a plastic cup onto the roadway and tossed the cup under his car.Police recovered the cup and it was determined to contain beer. Police reported that a breath test at the police station revealed that Wright had a blood alcohol content of .26— over three times the legal limit of .08.

At the plea hearing, Howard County Senior Assistant State’s Attorney James F. Brewer told Judge Wayne A. Brooks that Wright’s driving record revealed four prior DUI convictions in Howard and Anne Arundel counties since 2007 including an August 9, 2016 infraction for which he is awaiting sentencing. “He’s not getting the message; he is a danger on the road,” Brewer said.

Judge Brooks noted that it was rare to have someone before the court with five DUI convictions. He sentenced Wright to three years, suspending all but 18 months, and assessed a $1,000 fine plus court costs.Upon his release Wright will serve three years of supervised probation.

New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Burglary of Laurel Donut Shop

January 6, 2017

A New Jersey man accused of targeting and burglarizing Dunkin’ Donut shops in four states has pleaded guilty to the February 22, 2016 burglary of a Laurel store. Blaze Lavon J. Hollingsworth, 25, of the 1200 block of Magnolia Ave., Camden, pleaded guilty to a single count of 2nd degree burglary in Howard County Circuit Court on Thursday. A co-defendant in the case, Harold E. Carter, Jr. of Erial, N.J., pleaded guilty to 2nd degree burglary and was sentenced to four years in prison on October 24, 2016.

At Thursday’s plea hearing Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Hammond told Judge Dennis M. Sweeney that police responded to the Dunkin’ Donuts store at 8305 Ice Crystal Dr. where the front door had been smashed to gain access. The rear office had been ransacked and three cash register trays were on the floor behind the counter. The owner told police that a substantial amount of cash was stolen from the store.

Burglary detectives subsequently learned of a large-scale, multi-jurisdictional series of smash and grab burglaries of Dunkin’ Donut and other retailers in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Harford County where Hollingsworth and Carter had been identified as the primary suspects.

Last month, Hollingsworth pleaded guilty to the March 18, 2016 second-degree burglary of a Harford County Dunkin’ Donuts store and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, Judge Sweeney sentenced Hollingsworth to a flat, 11-year prison sentence, to be served concurrent with his Harford County sentence.

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.