20 Years For Burglaries

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SNOW HILL — A West Ocean City man arrested in April on first-degree burglary charges after a concerned citizen noticed a shattered glass door and a large-screen television located just inside the door pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

On April 4, a citizen walking to a West Ocean City convenience store for a cup of coffee near the Delmarva Trailer Park observed a trailer with the front door wide open and a big-screen television sitting on the floor just inside the door. The citizen also observed the glass portion of the door had been shattered. Because of the suspicious nature of the situation, the citizen called 911 to report a possible burglary.

Maryland State Police arrived and determined a burglary had been committed. The Worcester Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) was called in to handle the investigation. WCBI detectives and MSP troopers canvassed the trailer park and talked to several witnesses before identifying Joseph B. Kelly, Sr., 51, of West Ocean City as a possible suspect. Kelly had been staying in the area of Golf Course Rd.

A search warrant was obtained for Kelly’s residence and numerous items from the burglary were recovered. Kelly was then arrested and charged with first- and third-degree burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property. Through the course of the investigation, it was determined Kelly was also a suspect in two other burglaries that had occurred at the trailer park. Evidence collected at his residence linked him to the two other burglaries.

Subsequently, Kelly was charged with two additional counts of first-degree burglary and theft from $1,000 to $10,000. Last week in Circuit Court, Kelly pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree burglary and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Court Overturns Conviction

SNOW HILL — The Maryland Court of Special Appeals last month overturned the conviction of a Berlin man arrested on a sexual solicitation charge in June 2009 stemming from an incident in a Boardwalk store, ruling his actions did not qualify as solicitation to engage in sexual activity.

Leroy Poole, 49, of Berlin, was convicted in October 2010 of third-degree sex offense, false imprisonment and sexual solicitation of a minor and was sentenced to a combined 20 years including 10 years for the solicitation charge. Poole later appealed the conviction on the latter charge and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals last month reversed the conviction on that count, citing insufficient evidence.

According to police reports, the victim, then 15 years old, came to Ocean City from Kansas with a larger group as part of a 10-day trip in June 2009. On June 27, 2009, the victim went to a lemonade stand on the Boardwalk in the area of 1st Street where she first encountered Poole. According to the statement of charges, Poole flirted with the teen, waved her over in his direction and flirted with her.

That was the end of the victim’s initial contact with Poole, according to police reports, but when she returned to the same lemonade stand later in the afternoon and found it to be temporarily closed, she went into an adjacent clothing store. According to police reports, Poole entered the store behind the victim, told her there was something he wanted to show her in the back of the store, and led her to a secluded bathroom in the store.

According to the victim’s statement, Poole led her to the back of the store and into the hidden restroom where he locked to door with both of them inside. Once inside, Poole touched the victim inappropriately and reached up under her bathing suit despite her pleading with him to stop.

According to the Court of Special Appeals opinion, Poole told the victim there was something he wanted to show her, put his arm around her back and guided her to the room in the back of the store and locked the door. Poole then told the victim she was beautiful and touched her hair. According to the appeals court opinion, Poole did not “command, authorize, urge, entice, request or advise” the victim to engage in any sexual activity. Instead, he cornered the victim and touched her inappropriately. After the incident, Poole obtained the victim’s phone number and told her he hoped to see her again, according to the appeals court opinion. He later sent her a text message saying “good afternoon,” to which she did not respond.

“This conduct does not qualify as solicitation to engage in sexual activity,” the Court of Special Appeals opinion reads. “The appellant’s conviction of sexual solicitation of a minor is reversed.”

Probation, Fine In Accident

SNOW HILL — A West Ocean City man who caused a three-car accident on Route 50 near the Harry Kelley Bridge in July pleaded guilty this week to driving under the influence and was placed on probation and fined.

Around 8:30 p.m. on July 13, Maryland State Police responded to a reported accident on Route 50 just west of the bridge. The investigation revealed a vehicle driven by David Leyden, 23, of West Ocean City, was traveling west on Route 50 approaching a red traffic signal at Inlet Isle Lane when it ran into the back of another vehicle stopped at the light.

The force of the collision caused the struck vehicle to run into the vehicle in front of it, also stopped at the light. Two minors were injured in the collision although neither required transport to the hospital. Leyden was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, negligent driving, driving on an expired license, failure to control speed to avoid a collision. The westbound lanes of Route 50 near the bridge were closed for about half an hour, causing serious traffic delays on a busy Friday evening. On Monday, Leyden pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was placed on probation and fined $400.

No Bail For Assault Suspect

SNOW HILL — A Berlin man arrested on various charges in July after allegedly assaulting two private individuals and a Berlin police officer before attempting to escape while being transferred to the Worcester County Jail remains behind bars this week without bail after some of the charges against him were dropped last week and other charges continue to move forward to trial.

Shortly before 5 p.m. on July 26, Berlin Police responded to a residence on Maple Ave. for a reported assault. When officers arrived, the suspect, later identified as Kenneth Foreman, 23, of Berlin, fled on foot. With the assistance of Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies, Foreman was located after a foot chase.

After being transported to the police station in Berlin, Foreman allegedly assaulted an officer. The officer was transported to AGH for treatment of minor injuries. Foreman is also accused of assaulting a male and female victim at the residence.

After leaving the District Court Commissioner’s Office, Foreman allegedly attempted to escape from custody but was quickly apprehended. It was later determined Foreman had been using an alias during the booking process. He was charged initially with two counts of second-degree assault, second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana.

Last week in District Court, the two second-degree assault charges, along with the resisting arrest and disorderly conduct charges, were dropped as part of the plea agreement. However, the second-degree assault on a police officer and the possession of marijuana charge are still being prosecuted.

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