POCOMOKE – A Pocomoke man remains behind bars late this week after allegedly stabbing a man to death in a Pocomoke neighborhood adjacent to a middle school right around dismissal time on Wednesday afternoon.
Around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Pocomoke Police responded to the area of 9th Street for a reported stabbing incident. Upon arrival on the scene, Pocomoke Police located an individual, later identified as Russell Matthew Bailey III, 18, of Pocomoke, unconscious and unresponsive. Police observed Bailey to have a severe injury to the upper portion of his chest. Paramedics arrived and transported Bailey to PRMC in Salisbury where he was pronounced dead.
Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives were called in to investigate and began interviewing witnesses. Based on the initial investigation, WCBI detectives identified James Edward Bailey, 29, of Pocomoke, as the suspect. Bailey was interviewed and subsequently arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter and first-degree assault.
Ballard appeared in District Court yesterday morning for a bail review hearing and was ordered held without bond. Judge Gerald Purnell pointed out the first-degree murder charge carried a possible death penalty and urged Ballard to secure a lawyer or public defender in short order. Ballard told the judge he was unemployed because he had only been out of jail for a prior offense for about two weeks.
Ballard was sentenced last November to 18 months in jail after violating the terms of his probation for a second-degree assault conviction from an incident dating back to 2008. Purnell ordered Ballard held without bond for on the murder charges from the incident on Wednesday afternoon, which apparently did not surprise the suspect.
“I know I can’t get no bond with charges like that,” he said.
The incident on Wednesday afternoon occurred about the same time Pocomoke Middle School, which is just across the street from the crime, scene, was about to be dismissed for the day. As a result, the school was locked down for an unknown period of time as police investigated the stabbing.
According to Pocomoke Mayor Mike McDermott, Ballard knew the victim prior to the incident on Wednesday and the stabbing was the result of an ongoing dispute between the two men.