Attempted Murder Dropped

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SNOW HILL – A Delaware man arrested last August after stabbing his estranged wife and her new boyfriend along with two unrelated children had attempted murder charges against him dropped this week after his ex-wife refused to testify against him, but he still faces first-degree assault charges that could carry a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Around 5:10 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2009, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD responded to the Siesta Villas condominiums in the area of 51st Street for a reported domestic assault in progress. Upon arrival, OCPD officers observed a woman, later identified as the victim, and a man, later identified as Craig William Taylor, 35, of Middletown, Del. The officers quickly determined Taylor had allegedly stabbed the female victim.

The investigation revealed the victim was Taylor’s estranged wife and was visiting Ocean City with the couple’s two children and her new boyfriend as well as two other children who are friends of the victim’s children. Taylor allegedly came to Ocean City and forced his way into the condominium where his estranged wife, her new boyfriend and the children were staying.

A knowledgeable source said later the victim and her estranged husband stayed in the same mid-town unit in which the stabbing occurred the summer before. The source also revealed the woman had an active restraining order against Taylor. It appears once Taylor learned she was in Ocean City in the apartment they had previously rented, he reportedly became enraged and drove to the resort to confront her.

Once he forced his way into the condo, Taylor allegedly stabbed his estranged wife. During the altercation, the victim’s boyfriend and two of the unrelated children visiting the victim’s children were injured while trying to get away from Taylor.

The victim was transported to PRMC in Salisbury for treatment of her injuries. The injured children and the victim’s boyfriend were taken to Atlantic General Hospital and were treated and released.

Taylor was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, carrying a deadly weapon with intent to injure, and first- and third-degree burglary. However, Taylor and his estranged wife are reportedly reconciling and she refused to testify at his trial this week. As a result, many of the charges including attempted murder were dropped. However, Taylor still faces first-degree assault charges, the maximum penalty for which is 25 years in jail.

Serious Jail Time For

Hit-And-Run, Chase

SNOW HILL – A Frankford, Del. man arrested in June 2006 on several charges after a hit-and-run accident and a high-speed chase including an assault on a Berlin police officer was sentenced last week to five years in jail after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in November.

Around 6:30 p.m. on June 6, 2006, a Silver Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Stefphon Bowen, then 33, of Frankford, Del., ran into the back of a Toyota Tacoma on Route 113 just south of Route 50 in Berlin and kept going. Berlin Police observed the vehicle turn right from Route 113 onto Branch Street heading into Berlin and pursued Bowen.

A Berlin police officer attempted to block Bowen’s way, but the suspect rammed the officer’s patrol car and kept going. A high-speed pursuit followed along northbound Route 113 as the suspect continued on into Delaware. About six miles after crossing the state line, with several officers in pursuit, Bowen lost control of his vehicle as he attempted to make a right turn onto Swamp Rd. and crashed into a ditch.

Bowen then fled the vehicle and ran away on foot, but was soon apprehended by a Berlin police officer a short time later. It was later discovered Bowen had cocaine and marijuana in the vehicle. He was also under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.

Three years later, after a successful warrant service on the suspect, Bowen appeared in Circuit Court last November and pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and fleeing and eluding police and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Back in Circuit Court last Friday, Bowen was sentenced to five years in jail for the assault conviction.

Another “Take Pride”

Dealer Sentenced

SNOW HILL – The latest significant jail term in area law enforcement’s renewed battle to rid Berlin’s neighborhoods of open-air drug dealing was handed down last week when a local man pleaded guilty to distributing crack cocaine and was sentenced to six years in jail.

Last week in Circuit Court, Tony H. Vann, 23, of Berlin, was found guilty of distribution of crack cocaine and was sentenced to six years in jail. All but 18 months of the sentence was then suspended and Vann was placed on probation for two years, fined $500 and ordered to attend drug and alcohol counseling.

On March 6, 2009, a Maryland State Police Drug Enforcement Division trooper was operating an undercover vehicle in a covert capacity in cooperation with the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) narcotics task force during an investigation into the illegal street sales of drugs when he observed a man later identified as Vann walking down Bay Street.

The trooper engaged Vann in a conversation about drugs in the parking lot of the Bay Terrace Apartments and Vann got into the passenger side of the trooper’s vehicle. The trooper asked Vann for a “40,” or street slang for $40 worth of crack cocaine. Vann then handed the trooper a rock of suspected crack cocaine in exchange for $40 and left the area.

The rock-like substance was field-tested a produced a positive reaction for the presence of crack cocaine. A week later, an arrest warrant was issued for Vann, charging him with various offenses including distribution of crack cocaine. Vann’s arrest and subsequent prosecution was the latest in a string of victories for the “Take Pride in Berlin” initiative. State’s Attorney Joel Todd and allied local law enforcement agencies last spring launched a renewed effort to end open-air drug dealing in Berlin. The initiative promised more surveillance, more arrests and harsher treatment for those found guilty.

Texting Dealer Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A New York man arrested last September on drug charges after selling marijuana to an undercover OCPD narcotics officer was found guilty last week of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, of which all but 90 days was suspended.

On Sept. 5, 2009, an OCPD officer working undercover on the Boardwalk made contact with a suspect, later identified as Ricky Saxbury, 41, of Lindley, N.Y., and told him he was looking for some “bud,” or street slang for marijuana. Saxbury told the officer he had a lot of marijuana and would contact him when he got back to his vehicle. A short time later, Saxbury sent a text message to the undercover officer asking if he was still interested.

The officer responded he had $100 and was interested in buying a quarter of an ounce. Saxbury then sent the officer a follow-up text message setting up a meeting point on the Boardwalk. The officer met with Saxbury at the appointed time and location and completed the deal. Saxbury told the officer he had plenty more if he needed it.

Saxbury was then arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Last week, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended by 90 days. Saxbury was also placed on supervised probation for two years, fined $670 and ordered to attend drug and alcohol classes.

Crash Leads To DWI Conviction

SNOW HILL – A Smithfield, Md. woman who ran into a vehicle in reverse at a toll booth on the Inlet parking lot was found guilty last week in Circuit Court of driving while impaired and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and fine.

Last Aug. 1, an OCPD officer patrolling the Inlet lot observed a vehicle driven by Tammy Doege, 47, stopped in the middle of a lane of traffic. Around the same time, another individual approached the officer and reported Doege’s vehicle had just run into her vehicle in the toll booth area and had kept on going.

The other driver told police pulled up to the toll booth but passed the ticket area without taking a ticket. When the activation arm blocking Doege’s entrance to the Inlet lot did not go up, Doege put her car in reverse and backed up to the ticket dispenser and took a ticket. When the arm went up, Doege accelerated, but she had not taken the car out of reverse, and struck the vehicle behind her. She then went forward and proceeded around the Inlet lot.

According to police reports, when the officer made contact with Doege, her eyes were barely open. When the officer asked Doege to step out of the vehicle, she had to hold herself up. The officer also noted in his report several beer cans inside the vehicle. Doege failed several field sobriety tests and was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, but she refused to take a breath test.

Last week in Circuit Court, Doege pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The sentence was then suspended and Doege was placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

Probation For Drug Possession

SNOW HILL – A New York man arrested last August on drug and weapons charges pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession of marijuana and was granted probation before judgment and fined, although he was ordered to forfeit his vehicle to the court.

On Aug. 16, 2009, an OCPD officer stopped a vehicle for a malfunctioning taillight. When the officer made contact with the driver, later identified as Varma Jagrup, 20, of Staten Island, N.Y., he noticed brass knuckles partially concealed in a baseball cap in the vehicle. Additional officers were called to the scene to check for other potential weapons.

During a search of the vehicle, officer noticed the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside. The search then revealed loose marijuana on the passenger side floor, a digital scale and rolling papers. Jagrup was arrested on various drug and weapons charges.

Last week in Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was granted probation before judgment. He as then placed on probation for two years, fined $500, ordered to forfeit his vehicle, ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and ordered to attend drug and alcohol classes.

Jail Time For Parking Lot Deal

SNOW HILL – A Seaford, Del. man arrested last August on marijuana charges after selling pot to an undercover OCPD narcotics agent pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was then suspended by 60 days.

In February 2009, the OCPD began a drug investigation into the activities of James P. Irving, 21, of Seaford. On March 17, an OCPD undercover officer made contact with Irving and arranged to purchase $100 worth of marijuana at a north end convenience store parking lot. A short time later, Irving pulled up next to the detective’s vehicle in the parking lot as planned and rolled down his window.

Irving asked the officer how much he wanted, and when he replied he wanted $100 worth, Irving pulled a plastic baggie from his waistband, placed it on an interior door handle and instructed the undercover officer to reach for it. Money was exchanged, the deal was completed and both parties drove away. The officer then had the contents of the baggie processed by the Maryland State Police Regional Crime Lab, and the test was positive for marijuana, a warrant was sworn out for Irving’s arrest.

Last week in Circuit Court, Irving pleaded guilty to distribution of marijuana and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. All but 60 days of the sentence was suspended. Irving was also fined $500 and was ordered to attend drug and alcohol counseling.

Fine, Probation For Singer Attack

SNOW HILL – A New York man arrested last July for attacking a band member at a midtown nightclub pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, all but eight of which were suspended in favor of a fine and probation.

On July 18, 2009, the OCPD was dispatched to a midtown nightclub for a reported assault. The investigation revealed a suspect, later identified as Jerry W. Caudill, 40, of Franklinville, N.Y., pulled the singer of the band off the stage and punched him several times with a closed fist. Video surveillance footage confirmed Caudill was the attacker in the assault on the band member.

Caudill told police he was at the bar and got into an argument with his wife, but remembered little else about the case. Last week in Circuit Court, Caudill was found guilty of second-degree assault and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, all but eight of which were suspended. He was also fined $500, placed on supervised probation for two years, ordered to complete 50 hours of community service within six months, ordered to attend drug and alcohol counseling, and ordered to pay over $3,120 in restitution to the victim.

Suspended Sentence For Burglary

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested last August after OCPD officers connected him to a reported burglary spree pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and was sentenced to 177 days in jail.

On Aug. 9, 2009, OCPD officers responded to a reported domestic assault during which the victim told police her boyfriend a group of his friends, including Michael D. Mongeluzzo, 21, of Uniontown, Pa., had been in Ocean City all week committing burglaries and robberies. The victim told police her boyfriend had a gun. The victim’s boyfriend was located and he denied having a gun and gave officer permission to search his room.

Meanwhile, the victim was searching through her suitcase in the presence of police officer when she pulled out a smoking device with suspected marijuana residue in it, which she also claimed belonged to her boyfriend. The alleged victim also pulled out a GPS and a Nike string bag, which she said had been stolen by her boyfriend and Mongeluzzo.

The OCPD officers were able to determine the items had been reported stolen from a downtown motel two days earlier. A further search of the room resulted in the discovery of numerous other items that had been reported stolen at a downtown motel two days earlier.

While the search was ongoing, hotel security advised the police the rest of the individuals staying in the room, including Mongeluzzo, were returning to the scene. All of the suspects were then detained.

The victim was brought over to identify the suspects, including Mongeluzzo, who was arrested for his role in the alleged burglary spree. Last week in Circuit Court, Mongeluzzo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and was sentenced to the 177 days he served in jail awaiting trial.

Pot Case Forwarded to Circuit

SNOW HILL – One of two Pennsylvania men arrested on marijuana charges last summer after a Maryland State Police trooper observed them in the parking lot of a West Ocean City business that was closed last week asked for a jury trial and had his case forwarded to Circuit Court.

A little after 5 a.m. on July 23, 2009, a trooper on patrol observed a black Volkswagen with Pennsylvania tags in the parking lot of a mattress store on Route 50. The trooper observed the vehicle’s passenger sitting up with his head partially out of the window. At around that time, the driver appeared from the direction of the parking lot of a nearby convenience store.

The two suspects were identified as Andrew J. Metzinger, 24, of Lancaster, Pa., and Joshua A. McSorley, 23, also of Lancaster. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed a silver metallic and white plastic smoking device with marijuana residue in the back seat, a tin-foil smoking device with marijuana residue above the vehicle’s radio and a plastic bag with a trace amount of marijuana in it in a cigarette box under the passenger seat. In December, Metzinger pleaded guilty to possession of paraphernalia and was placed on probation for one year and fined $200. McSorley last week had his case forwarded to Circuit Court.

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