Suspected Rape Case Forwarded to Circuit

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OCEAN CITY- A Baltimore man arrested in April for
allegedly raping a woman in an Ocean City motel had his case forwarded to
Circuit Court this week after District Court Judge Danny Mumford found there
was probable cause after reviewing testimony in a preliminary hearing in
District Court.

Ernest Wesley Smith, 53, of Baltimore, was in District
Court on Monday for a preliminary hearing for an incident in April. Smith is
facing attempted rape, sexual offenses, assault and breaking and entering after
allegedly attacking his former girlfriend at the Days Inn in Ocean City on
April 14.

According to the statement of charges, Ocean City Police
officers were called to the motel on April 14 for a reported sexual assault.
The officers met with the alleged victim who told them her ex-boyfriend with
whom she had an on again, off again relationship first physically assaulted her
in front of her motel room in front of her young niece.

Smith then allegedly forced the victim into her room,
threw her on the bed and pulled her pants off before taking his own pants off.
The victim allegedly resisted the assault, but Smith punched her in the legs
until she relented. When the victim realized she might be seriously hurt, she
stopped resisting and Smith allegedly sexually assaulted her for several
minutes.

In the meantime, the niece who witnessed the initial
attack called other friends who came to the motel, but Smith had gone. Smith
was known to be staying at another resort hotel and police were able to get a
description of his vehicle and tag number. A description was broadcast and
Smith was found and arrested a short time later.

The victim, meanwhile, was visibly upset and shaking.
Emergency services were called but the victim did not want to go to the
hospital. At the preliminary hearing on Monday, Smith, who was representing
himself, said he did not know what the judge was talking to him about, and the
judge said “I’m sure you don’t.” The case was forwarded to Circuit Court.

Breaker and Enterer
Gets Sentenced to Time Served

OCEAN CITY- An Ocean City man who broke into a north end
condo and stayed for several days last month was found guilty this week in
District Court of fourth-degree burglary and sentenced to the 31 days he has
already served in jail.

Mark Cook, 51, of Ocean City was arrested and charged with
burglary and malicious destruction of property in April after a resident in a
north end condo called police to report a suspicious person in a nearby unit
and the strong odor of cigarettes. Resort police went to the unit and found
evidence Cook had been living there uninvited including a change of address card
bearing his name.

He was later arrested and charged with burglary and
malicious destruction. Cook’s attorney told Judge Danny Mumford Cook “got
caught uptown when he missed his bus,” and that he entered the unit because “it
was cold and the door was open.” The attorney also told the judge Cook did not
steal anything or take anything.

Cook was later arrested and spent 31 days in jail awaiting
trial. On Monday, he was found guilty of fourth-degree burglary and sentenced
to the 31 day he had already served in jail awaiting trial.

Suspected Burglar
Headed to Circuit

OCEAN CITY- An Ocean City man with an extensive record for
breaking and entering in the resort this week had preliminary hearings on his
two most recent arrests and both cases were forwarded to Worcester County
Circuit Court.

Jermaine Hill, 21, of Ocean City was in District Court on
Monday facing preliminary hearings on two separate burglary cases dating back
to April. In the first case, Hill is accused of breaking into the office of a
resort hotel closed up for the winter and taking a bottle of wine, some bottles
of Gatorade and some crackers and later hosting a party in one of the hotel’s
rooms.

According to testimony, Hill and other suspects pushed a
window air conditioning unit into the office and climbed in through the open
window. At one point in the hearing on Monday, Hill denied pushing the air
conditioner out and entering the office saying “my fat ass couldn’t fit through
that window.”

One of the other suspects in the break-in told police he
admitted going to the party at the motel room after the break-in, but had
nothing to do with the burglary itself. That suspect also told police he had
gone into the office to use the computer to check his “myspace” site. Another
suspect in the case told police Hill had told him he had broken into the
office.

Finger prints were taken from the stolen goods, but the
results have not come back from the forensic lab. Judge Danny Mumford
ultimately found there was enough probable cause to forward the case to Circuit
Court, but said the initial evidence against Hill presented by the state was
flimsy. “I don’t think any evidence has been presented to suggest Mr. Hill was
there,” he said. “At most, you have a statement from a co-defendant. I find
probable cause, but it’s not a strong case.”

In the second preliminary hearing for Hill on Monday, the
suspect was connected to another break-in at the T-Shirt Factory on 6th
Street and the Boardwalk. In that case, dating back to March 26, OCPD
detectives were called to the store when workers opening the store found a
dollar bill on the floor near the cash register and that the cash register had
been “z’d out” or opened in the early morning hours. One worker testified the
door to the store had been secured with a chain and lock, but that the chain
was not cut, suggesting the perpetrators gained access with some help from the
inside.

Detectives linked the crime to Hill, who admitted being
connected to it after an interrogation by OCPD Detective Vickie Martin. The
defense attorney suggested the admission was coerced out of Hill by Martin who
“screamed at and brow-beat” his client, which caused Judge Mumford to scoff
“Detective Martin yelled at somebody?”

Hill allegedly told detectives before he admitted being
connected to the crime “I’m tired of lying to police and I’m tired of all the
games.” After considerable testimony, Hill’s two cases were forwarded to
Circuit Court. His bond in motel break-in was set at $5,000, while his bond in
the Boardwalk store break-in was set at $250,000. Hill’s attorney asked Mumford
to reduce the second bond to the same $5,000 as the first case, but Mumford
only lowered it to $100,000.

Fines Doled Out in
Bizarre Drug Cases

OCEAN CITY- An Ocean City woman arrested on drug charges
in March at her Ocean City home was found guilty of possession this week in
District Court and fined over $1,300 in the two separate convictions.

Deborah Miller, 51, of Ocean City, was in District Court
on Monday facing a variety of charges including possession of marijuana and PCP
after an incident at her 86th Street home in March when her son
called police because of concern about her welfare, which led resort police to
find significant amounts of narcotics, some illegal and some prescription, in
her bedroom.

The case against Miller essentially boiled down to two
separate components of the same incident. In the first component, a resort
officer responded to the unit to check on Miller at her son’s request. While
the officer was conducting the routine search for weapons on Miller, he noticed
a marijuana smoking pipe in a coffee cup full of pens on a bed side stand.

Defense Attorney Dave Gaskill first argued the discovery
of the paraphernalia constituted an illegal search because the officer was
looking for weapons and not anything else at the time. In interesting
testimony, the officer discovered the seemingly innocuous marijuana pipe while
searching for weapons, but did not remember seeing a bow and arrow, a dagger
and a tomahawk hanging on the wall in Miller’s room which were part of her
Native American art collection.

Gaskill argued the discovery of the marijuana pipe in a
cup full of pens and pencils was incidental to the search for weapons and
therefore constituted an illegal search and seizure, but Judge Danny Mumford
denied the motion and the case continued.

Testimony revealed there were several other people living
in the unit including Miller’s son and his new wife and others. Resort police
also found purse in the room which contained some loose marijuana, rolling
papers, a small scale and folded pieces of foil. However, none of Miller’s
identification was found in the purse, although it was found in her room.

Miller testified her mother had recently died and she was
distraught over her passing. She also said her some and new daughter in-law
came to live with her and they were known to smoke marijuana “all the time.” Mumford
asked Miller if the couple could have been smoking pot in her room, and she
said, “I was working a lot and I couldn’t keep an eye on them.” Nonetheless,
Mumford found her guilty in that case.

In a related case heard on Monday, Miller’s son called
resort police because he said his mother had been taking pills and acting out
of the ordinary. When resort police went to the residence, the found Miller
sitting on the floor of her bedroom, rocking back and forth and shredding up
pieces of paper. Miller was also saying over and over again several phrases
including “ABC, 123, Light me on fire,” and “Maybe so, I don’t know.”

Concerned about what Miller had been taking, resort police
searched the room and found as many as 25 bottles of pills, marijuana and
marijuana laced with PCP. Again, Gaskill questioned the legality of the search,
but the testifying officers said they were concerned about what she had taken
and looking at the various drugs in the room were not part of a crime
investigation but merely part of their welfare check on Miller.

Miller said she was distraught over her mother’s death and
was having a breakdown. She said she had no recollection of where the charges
against her had come from and had no memory of the incident described during
the trial on Monday. Mumford ultimately found Miller guilty in both incidents.
She was fined $300 for the incident in March and $1,057 for the incident in
December.

While he was uncertain whether or not Miller had taken the
drugs, he said the evidence presented was adequate for a conviction. “You’re
your own worst enemy,” he told the defendant. “Your conduct that night was
consistent with PCP use. I thought people stopped using that crap.”

Drag Racing in
Libertytown

BERLIN- A Wicomico County resident suspected of being part
of drag racing activity last Friday near Berlin was apprehended after a
high-speed chase and charged with driving under the influence and fleeing and
eluding police.

Last Friday, Maryland State Police troopers from the
Berlin Barrack responded to Libertytown Rd. and Nine Pin Branch Rd. near Berlin
for a report of vehicles drag racing. Upon arrival, the troopers were unable to
locate the reported vehicles involved. However, while the troopers were
checking the area, a vehicle drove by clocked at 83 miles per hour in a 55 mph
zone.

When the trooper activated the emergency lights and siren,
the vehicle accelerated and attempted to elude apprehension. After a brief
chase, the vehicle pulled over to the shoulder in the area of Purnell Crossing
and Powellville Rd. The driver was identified as Tina Louise Greenfield, 44, of
Eden in Wicomico County.

After performing roadside sobriety tests, Greenfield was
charged with driving under the influence and fleeing and eluding police. She
was taken into custody and taken before the District Court Commissioner, the
disposition of which is still pending.

Resisting Arrest,
DUI Charges in OC

OCEAN CITY- Last Friday, a concerned citizen called the
Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack to report a suspected intoxicated driver
heading east on Route 50 toward Ocean City.

A description of the vehicle, a Black Mercury, was given
out over the MSP radio while the witness who called in the report continued to
follow the suspect vehicle. A trooper picked up the vehicle heading into Ocean
City and stopped it as it pulled into a parking lot at St. Louis Ave. and
Talbot Street. The trooper suspected the driver of the vehicle, Andrew David
Harris, 41, of Ocean City was intoxicated. After a series of field sobriety
tests, Harris was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

During the arrest, Harris scuffled with the trooper and a
charge of resisting arrest was tacked on. Harris was taken into custody and
charged with DUI and resisting arrest. He will be taken before a District Court
Commissioner.

Traffic Stop Yields
Weapons Arrest

BERLIN- A traffic stop last Saturday on Route 50 near
Seahawk Rd. led to the discovery of several deadly weapons and the arrest of a
New Jersey man.

Last Saturday, Berlin Police on routine patrol stopped a
vehicle on Route 50 for swerving and driving 15 miles per hour under the speed
limit as well as an equipment violation. As part of a routine for officer
safety, the Berlin officer conducted a pat down on the driver, Jose Anthony
Morales, 18, of Camden, New Jersey, and discovered a large folding knife on his
person with the blade open. Morales was then arrested for carrying a concealed
deadly weapon.

A search of the vehicle incidental to the arrest revealed
two loaded handguns and a baseball bat under the driver’s seat. A NCIC query
revealed one of the handguns was reported stolen from the Philadelphia area.
The investigation led to the discovery the occupants of the vehicle were en
route to the Quail Run Apartments in Berlin at the time of the incident.
Morales was arrested on weapons and traffic charges and held on a $2,500 bond
in the Worcester County Detention Center.

Missing Berlin Girl
Found

BERLIN- Two days after a missing persons report for a
Berlin teenager missing for nearly a week was posted, the young local resident
was found by police in Frederick, Md.

Sadie Kathleen Brooks, 16, of Berlin was reported missing
from her home on May 7, two days after she was last seen. Berlin Police
initiated a search for the missing teenager believed to be last seen in Baker’s
Park in Frederick. The Frederick Police Department was alerted to be on the
lookout for Brooks.

On Saturday, May 12, Frederick police contacted the Berlin
Police Department to inform them Brooks had indeed been found in the Western
Maryland town. Brooks was returned to her mother unharmed.

Several Teens
Arrested on Assateague

ASSATEAGUE- Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) were
busy last week rounding up a dozen teenagers for various drug, underage
drinking, disorderly conduct and traffic violations.

On Friday, May 4, NRP officers cited 10 individuals for
underage drinking after entering their campsite for noise violations and
disorderly conduct. Arrested for underage drinking were Scott Schratwieger, 18,
on Massapeque, NY; Patrick Smith, 18, of Huntingston, NY; Kirsten Tannen, of
Fire Island, NY; Benjamin Long, 19, of Narragansett, RI,; Jess Aga, 20, of
Galesville, Md.; Julie Maenner, 19, of Forest Hill, Md.; Jennifer Meisel, 18,
of Bel Air, Md.; Daniel Ervin, 18, of Gaithersburg, Md.; Nicholas Motter, 19, of
Gaithersburg; and Kara Montesano, 19, of Wading River, NY.

On Monday, May 7, NRP officers were busy again on
Assateague, charging two Salisbury residents with various drug, alcohol and
traffic violations. Ashley Marie Raley, 20, of Salisbury, was stopped for
speeding in the state park and was found with marijuana and paraphernalia. Michael
Manry, 19, also of Salisbury was also charged with possession of marijuana,
paraphernalia and underage drinking. Both were taken before a District Court
Commissioner in Ocean City and released on their own recognizance.

DWI Suspect Hits
Bridge

BERLIN- An Odenton, Md. man driving westbound on Route 50
near the Worcester-Wicomico line struck the bridge that separates the two
counties and continued into a ditch on the side of the road before being
arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

On Tuesday, troopers from the Maryland State Police Berlin
Barrack responded to Route 50 at the Worcester-Wicomico County line for a
single vehicle accident. The investigation revealed a 2002 Chevrolet driven by
Craig Matthew Neal, 35, of Odenton, was traveling at a constant rate of speed
when he struck the overpass that separates the two counties and then traveled
into a ditch on the Wicomico County side.

There were no reported injuries, nor was there any damage
to the structure of the bridge. Neal was subsequently arrested for DUI.

Injuries Reported
in Rear-End Accident

BERLIN- Maryland State Police troopers on Monday responded
to a three-car accident on Route 50 at Herring Creek Rd. that resulted in neck
injuries for the driver’s of two of the vehicles.

All three vehicles were traveling eastbound on Route 50
when the first two slowed to stop at the traffic signal at the intersection at
Herring Creek Rd., but the third vehicle did not slow down and ran into the
back of the second vehicle, forcing it into the back of the first vehicle. The
first vehicle, a Ford F-150 truck, was operated by Luis Jerez, 51, of Berlin.
The second vehicle, a 1995 Chrysler, was operated by Loretta Ann Briddell, 50,
of Berlin. The third vehicle in the accident, a 1996 Toyota, was operated by
Thomas Richard Lott, 57, of Ocean City.

Jerez and Briddell were transported to Atlantic General
Hospital for reported neck injuries. Lott was charged with failure to control
speed to avoid a collision.

 

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