Arrest Made in Pocomoke Homicide

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POCOMOKE- A Salisbury man was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the murder of a 77-year-old Pocomoke man in his residence last week.

On Wednesday, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation arrested Charles Robert Phillips, 29, of Salisbury for the murder of William Nibblett, 77, of Pocomoke. Phillips has been charged with first-degree murder, robbery, burglary and assault.

Around 5 p.m. on March 6, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to Nibblett’s home in Pocomoke in reference to a death investigation. Nibblett’s daughters had gone to his home to check on him after not hearing from him that day and found him stabbed to death on the floor in the living room. He was last seen the day before around 4 p.m.

Early on, detectives focused on two vehicles that may have been seen in the area around the time the crime was committed. One is a mid-1990s Chevrolet Cavalier white in color with a white convertible top and a blue sports striped down the side. The other is a mid-1980s Lincoln Town Car white in color.

By Wednesday, the investigation pointed to Phillips as a suspect and he was arrested and charged with the murder.

Hit-and-Run Suspect Nabbed in OC

OCEAN CITY- A Berlin man suspected of being the driver in a hit-and-run incident in West Ocean City last Saturday was arrested a short time later in downtown Ocean City and admitted being involved in the collision.

Shortly after 1 a.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to Wicomico Street and Baltimore Ave. in Ocean City in an attempt to locate a suspect involved in a hit-and-run incident at Harborside in West Ocean City earlier in the evening. Troopers located the driver, identified as Michael Joseph Strickland, 33, of Berlin and interviewed him about the incident.

Strickland admitted operating the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run incident. A short time later, he became extremely belligerent and verbally abusive and was arrested for disorderly conduct. He continued to be belligerent and abusive while being taken into custody and was also charged with resisting arrest in addition to traffic charges related to the hit-and-run incident.

OC Man Faces Assault, False Imprisonment Charges

OCEAN CITY- An Ocean City man faces several serious charges this week after allegedly holding his live-in girlfriend hostage and threatening to kill her with a knife on Monday. Around 1 a.m. on Monday, an Ocean City Police Department officer responded to a residence on Edward Taylor Rd. in reference to a reported assault. The victim, who was reportedly very upset and scared, told police her boyfriend, identified as Michael Todd Banzhoff, 36, of Ocean City, had come home intoxicated from a bar and started an argument with her. Banzhoff allegedly broke the victim’s cell phone before throwing her on the floor and holding her against her will.

Banzhoff allegedly held her down while she tried to get away and she screamed as loud as she could. The victim told police every time she attempted to leave, Banzhoff grabbed her and threw her down, punching her one time in the jaw with a closed fist. As the victim cried and screamed louder, Banzhoff just laughed at her and even got out a camcorder to tape the situation. At one point, Banzhoff used his cell phone to record the incident, according to police reports.

The victim continued to try to leave, but every time she made an attempt, Banzhoff prevented her escape. At one point, Banzhoff threw the victim on the floor and stood on her back, jumping up and down, when she said she was going to call the police. Banzhoff continued to record the incident with a camcorder, saying into it several times he never touched her and that she was crazy.

Banzhoff then allegedly grabbed the victim by her hair, threw her back on a bed and grabbed a folding knife from the nightstand. He allegedly held the knife to the victim’s throat and threatened to kill her. The victim was finally able to flee the residence and went to the police station.

At the station, police observed scratches and bruises on several parts of the victim’s body that were consistent with her account of the attack. Banzhoff was later arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property.

Warrant Service Leads to Drug Bust

OCEAN CITY- An Ocean City man being served with multiple bench warrants at his resort residence late last month was also found marijuana and paraphernalia and had additional drug charges tacked on.

On February 28, Maryland State Police troopers assigned to the agency’s warrant initiative went to Bradley on the Bay condominiums in Ocean City to serve multiple warrants on the occupant, Michael John Gregory, 30, of Ocean City. Gregory was wanted on a 2005 District Court warrant for second-degree assault and a 2005 Circuit Court warrant for violation of probation for a 2005 DUI.

At the time of his arrest, the troopers noticed the odor of burning marijuana and seized a multi-colored smoking device and over three grams of pot. Gregory was arrested and taken before a District Court commissioner, who ordered him held at the Worcester County Detention Center on pre-set bonds totaling over $10,000.

Suspect in Major OC Drug Bust Gets Four Years

SNOW HILL- A Bishopville man arrested last July on possession and distribution charges during a raid at downtown Ocean City hotel was sentenced last week in Circuit Court to four years in jail.

Last July 13, the Ocean City Police Narcotics Unit and the department’s Quick Response Team (QRT) scored a significant drug bust at a downtown hotel after executing a search and seizure warrant. The narcotics team and the QRT executed the search and seizure warrant at the Buckingham Hotel on 14th Street and Baltimore Ave. around 10:30 p.m. Named in the warrant was Lester Brown, Jr., 40, of Bishopville, who was believed to be in room 107.

When the officers entered the room, they found Brown along with his friend, Kelly Horton, 38, of Etters, Pa. inside. During the search, the officers found a cigarette box containing a baggie of crack cocaine and a baggie or marijuana under the mattress. The officers also discovered a partially burned marijuana cigarette, drug paraphernalia including a spoon with cocaine residue, razor blades and rolling papers.

Two pipes with crack cocaine residue were found in the night stand. Also seized was nearly $1,000 in currency. Brown and Horton were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Last week, Brown entered an Alford plea to possession of cocaine. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not plead guilty but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to move forward with prosecution. Brown was sentenced to four years in jail. Horton has a court date in District Court set for May 12.

Probation for Pot Bust

SNOW HILL- A Pennsylvania man arrested in September for marijuana and paraphernalia possession after a routine traffic stop received probation before judgment this week in Circuit Court.

On September 13, Maryland State Police made a routine stop for a minor traffic violation near Berlin. While the trooper was filling out the paperwork for the citation, the driver advised the officer he had a marijuana pipe in the vehicle. The officer then searched the car and the driver and arrested the two men, Chad Ryan White, 19, of Royersford, Pa., and Adam Mitchell Shubert, 18, of Collegeville, Pa.

This week in Circuit Court, White was placed on probation for one year and fined $500. Last week, Schubert had his appearance and had the charges against him placed on the stet docket.

One Injured in Accident

SNOW HILL- A Salisbury resident was injured in a single-vehicle accident on Route 12 in Snow Hill this week when the vehicle they were driving left the roadway and rolled several times.

Shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Maryland State Police troopers from the Berlin barrack responded to a reported accident on Route 12 near Snow Hill. The investigation revealed a blue Toyota passenger car had left the roadway, struck an embankment and rolled several times before coming to its final resting place.

The driver of the vehicle, Dashield Lovelle, of Salisbury, sustained minor injuries and was taken to PRMC in Salisbury and was treated and later released. Dashield was cited for negligent driving.

Stiff Sentence for Heroin Bust

SNOW HILL- An Ocean City man arrested in August for possession of heroin was found guilty last week and sentenced to three years in jail with all but six months suspended.

Last August 15, a Berlin Police officer observed a vehicle going 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit and conducted a routine traffic stop. A background check revealed the driver, Brian Dirzuweit, 39, of Ocean City, was driving on a suspended license and he was arrested. The officer noticed the three occupants moving around suspiciously inside the vehicle as he approached.

A search subsequent to the suspended license arrest revealed heroin and drug paraphernalia. As a result, Dirzuweit was also charged with possession of heroin and paraphernalia. The two passengers were also charged. George Seltzer, 28, of Berlin was charged with possession of heroin, while Charles Mumford III, 38, of Berlin, was charged with possession of heroin and two counts of possession of paraphernalia.

Last week in Circuit Court, Dirzuweit pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and was sentenced to three years in jail with all but six months suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years and fined $500.

Dozen More Arrested in Warrant Round-up

BERLIN- The Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack warrant initiative team was back at it last week, rounding up 12 more individuals wanted in Worcester County on active warrants for a variety of offenses.

In January, the MSP Berlin Barrack Warrant Initiative Team began the aggressive search for known wanted felons in the area and achieved great success with dozens wanted in Worcester County rounded up from all over the country. All in all, 30 suspects, including five felons, were apprehended and 39 total warrants were served, six of which were felony warrants.

Two weeks ago, the warrant initiative team rounded up 14 more suspects wanted in Worcester County and last week added a dozen more. Among those picked up on active warrants last week was John Damian Kilner, 47, of Pompano Beach, Fla., who was wanted for felony motor vehicle theft. The warrant initiative team was informed of Kilner’s whereabouts by the Pompano Sheriff’s Office and the suspect is being held pending extradition to Worcester.

William Joseph Bertolina, 23, of Crisfield was picked up on two felony warrants; one from the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation for second-degree burglary and theft, and one from the Princess Anne Police Department for second-degree burglary. Bertolina is being held without bond.

Also arrested last week were Warren Roger McGinnis, 44, of Fredericksburg, Va., who was wanted on a failure to appear bench warrant for a driving an uninsured vehicle charge; Norman Wayne Stanley, Sr., 50, of Hahira, Ga., who was wanted on a failure to appear warrant for a child neglect case; and Marc Nicholas Wyman, 30, also of Hahira, Ga., who was served with two failure to appear warrants for driving while suspended and possession of marijuana.

Lisa Anne Dent, 43, of Bishopville, was arrested on three warrants for second-degree assault, violation of probation and failure to make a deferred payment. Claiton Pacheco, 37, of Ocean City was also arrested on three outstanding warrants for writing bad checks and two counts of driving while suspended, on of which was from Montgomery County.

John Baines, 34, of St. Michael’s, was arrested by the warrant initiative team for failing to appear on a driving while suspended charge; Donald Edward Hoffman, 51, of Jessup, Md., was also arrested on a failure to appear warrant for driving while suspended; Nathan Patrick Johnson, 28, of Ocean City, was arrested on a failure to appear warrant for a paternity case; Linda Jean Kline, 44, of Eden, was arrested on a WCBI warrant for felony theft; and Robert Feigley, 34, of Millville, Del., was arrested on a violation of probation warrant for heroin possession from Baltimore County.

Hunting Deer in Closed Season

WHALEYVILLE- A local man was cited for hunting deer out of season last week after a concerned citizen reported the activity.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6:20 p.m., the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged a Whaleyville man with hunting violations on Blueberry Road, near Whaleyville. NRP charged Jerry Wayne Miller Jr., 22, of Whaleyville with hunting deer during closed season, failure to field tag deer and possession of untagged deer parts.

NRP responded to the area after receiving a report from a concerned citizen of illegal hunting activity. Officers located Miller’s truck and deer after conducting a search of the area. A court date of April 11 has been scheduled for Miller in Worcester County District Court.

Cocaine Charges Stick

OCEAN CITY- Blanca Emilce Ortiz, 32, of Silver Spring, Md. but originally from Argentina, entered an Alford plea to the charges of possession of cocaine this week in District Court.

An Alford plea is when a defendant admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge to find the defendant guilty. On January 1, Officer Joseph Melena was monitoring traffic in downtown Ocean City when he observed a vehicle driven by Ortiz. After performing a registration check on the vehicle, Melena discovered the vehicle had a missing and endangered persons mark on it with descriptors that matched the operator of the vehicle, Ortiz.

Melena stopped the car at 10th Street and Baltimore Avenue. After approaching the car, Melena noticed a CD case on the passenger side floor with a white substance he recognized as cocaine on the zipper, which was later revealed to be .3 grams. Ortiz was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine.

In District Court this week, Ortiz’s attorney explained the missing and endangered persons mark, which dates back to a homicide case in Washington D.C. in which Ortiz was questioned and later released. Ortiz, who spent a week in jail for the offense, was sentenced to one day of unsupervised probation.

Disorderly Conduct Yields Guilty Sentence

OCEAN CITY- Franklin Delano Dolina III, 28, of Upper Marlboro, Md. and Andre Lima Silva, 26, of Salisbury, both pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct this week in District Court for related cases that resulted from a fight outside of Seacrets on New Years Eve.

On January 1, Ocean City Police officers responded to Seacrets as two males were being escorted out by security staff. Officers observed Dolina strike Silva in the face. Police attempted to separate the two, but neither would comply and had to be restrained.

Dolina’s attorney explained that Dolina had been inside the night club when he was struck in the head by Silva. Both claimed to have been drinking too much. Both Silva and Dolina were sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation.

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