Six Months In Jail After Assault Plea

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in March and charged with a slew of offenses after barricading himself in his home during a domestic dispute with injuries before taking his aggression out on resort police pleaded guilty this week to second-degree assault and was sentenced to five years in jail, all of which but six months was suspended.

Richard Lehman was in Circuit Court on Wednesday facing a wide variety of charges from disorderly conduct and malicious destruction of property to resisting arrest and second-degree assault. He pleaded guilty to the latter and was sentenced to five years in jail with all but six months suspended.

On March 20, OCPD officers were dispatched to the Jocelyn Manor on 8th Street for a domestic situation. A security guard told police he had received a phone call about a loud argument coming from one of the units. The security guard had approached the unit and saw a man, later identified as Lehman, yelling and throwing clothes off the balcony.

For about 15 minutes, resort police tried unsuccessfully to contact someone inside the unit. They then found blood on the unit’s doorknob as well as the railing and on the clothes that were thrown off the balcony.

Now fearing for the safety of those inside, police got a key from the security guard and attempted to enter the unit. As they announced themselves as police officers and started to unlock the door, Lehman yelled, “you’re not [expletive deleted] coming in here,” according to police reports. Lehman then began to bang on the door with what was later found to be an aluminum baseball bat.

The officers stepped back to assess the situation when Lehman exited the unit with his 14-year-old son. The officers noted Lehman had a laceration on his hand, which was later determined to be the source of all the blood in and around the unit and not from another injured person.

After EMS treated Lehman for his injury, the officers placed him under arrest and put him in the back of a patrol car, where he began to thrash about, hitting his head on the car window. The officer repeatedly told him to calm down, but he continued to bang his head on the glass. He also began cursing at the officers, calling them derogatory names.

Eventually, Lehman was placed in a violent persons restraining device and taken away in a transport wagon, something that also proved to be a challenge for the officers who had to wrestle him to the ground to subdue him.

In Circuit Court this week, Lehman pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to five years in jail with all suspended but six months, which he will begin to serve tomorrow.

Stolen Car in Berlin 

BERLIN – A Berlin woman was arrested this week and charged with motor vehicle theft and drug charges after police observed her spinning wheels in a store parking lot with a car she had just stolen.

Around 8 a.m. last Sunday, Berlin Police observed a vehicle spinning its wheels coming out of the Uncle Willie’s convenience store on Flower Street. While the officer stopped the vehicle, a female victim ran up to the officer and advised the car he had stopped was hers and that it had just been stolen from the convenience store parking lot.

A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of the vehicle thief, identified as Rebecca Fultz, 33, of Berlin. The officer obtained an arrest warrant for Fultz the next day and served it on her on Monday, July 30, around 12:40 p.m. at her residence on Flower Street, where they found her in possession of cocaine, illegal prescription medicine and paraphernalia. Fultz was then charged with motor vehicle theft and possession of cocaine, illegal prescription medicine and paraphernalia.

Suspect In 2003 Case Arrested for Speeding

BERLIN – When Maryland State Police pulled over a pick-up truck for a routine speeding violation last week, the trooper did not know immediately the driver was wanted in Ocean City on charges dating back to 2003.

Last Thursday, Maryland State Police pulled over a 2007 GMC pick-up truck for speeding on Route 50 in West Ocean City. After a records check, the trooper discovered the operator, Tyler Pawich, 30, of Waynesburg, Pa., was wanted for failing to appear on charges of controlled dangerous substance possession and malicious destruction of property from an incident in Ocean City in 2003.

Pawich’s troubles were compounded when the trooper discovered marijuana during a search of the vehicle. He was arrested and charged with possession of CDS. He is being held on a $2,500 bond for the CDS possession charge and a $1,000 bond for the failure to appear bench warrant.

Bicyclist Hit On Route 50

BERLIN – An unidentified bicyclist remains in critical condition this week after being struck by a vehicle on eastbound Route 50 at Holly Grove Rd. last Wednesday.

A little before 11 p.m. last Wednesday, Maryland State Police troopers from the Berlin barrack responded to a motor vehicle collision at Route 50 and Holly Grove Rd. The investigation revealed a vehicle traveling east on Route 50 collided with a bicyclist, who was also traveling east on Route 50.

The bicyclist was flown to Peninsula Regional Medical Center via MSP Med-Evac helicopter and later transferred to University of Maryland Shock Trauma by ambulance. As of yesterday, the victim was still listed in critical condition. According to a police report, all identities are being withheld pending the notification of the next of kin.

Citizen’s Call Too Late To Avoid Accident

BERLIN – Moments after a concerned citizen called the Maryland State Police Berlin barrack to report a suspected drunk driver because of erratic driving, the very driver the caller was warning police about collided with another vehicle on Route 589.

Shortly after midnight last Saturday, Maryland State Police got a call from a concerned citizen about a Chevrolet Cavalier driving erratically. Moments later, the troopers responded to an accident on Route 589 at Ocean Parkway. Upon arrival, police discovered a blue 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier matching the description provided by concerned caller failed to stop for a red light at the intersection and collided with a black Chevy Trailblazer making a left turn.

Further investigation revealed the driver, later identified as Felipe Alberto Cacaras Maldonado of Salisbury was under the influence of alcohol. Maldonado was arrested and while inside the trooper’s patrol vehicle he kicked the windshield damaging the glass. He was removed from the vehicle and continued to resist further restraints.

Maldonado was charged with numerous traffic violations including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a license and negligent driving. Criminally he was charged with malicious destruction of property, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He is being held at the Worcester County Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.

Traffic Stop Yields Two Pot Arrests

BERLIN – Two Salisbury men were arrested for possession of marijuana last week after getting pulled over for a routine traffic stop.

Maryland State Police from the Berlin barrack pulled over a 1999 Volkswagen for a traffic violation on Route 346. The trooper approaching the vehicle noticed in plain view in the back seat area a small bag of suspected marijuana. A search of the vehicle revealed more marijuana in the driver’s side door panel. Arrested were William David Wilkes III, 21, and Christopher Alan Powell, 18, both of Salisbury. The suspects were transported first to the Berlin barrack for processing and later transferred to the District Court Commissioner’s Office where they were released on their own recognizance.

Three Rescued From Sinking Sailboat

ASSATEAGUE – The U.S. Coast Guard last Sunday rescued three people after their 42-foot sailboat ran aground about a half mile off the coast of Assateague Island.

Shortly after 1 a.m. last Sunday, the Coast Guard received a radio call from Larry Michaels, who reported his sailboat had run aground on a sandbar off the coast of Assateague and was rapidly taking on water. The Coast Guard responded with a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, which arrived on the scene a short time later and was able to hoist the three men from the foundering vessel.

Rescued were Larry Michaels, George Grabowski and Joseph Tosta. The Coast Guard helicopter crew then transported all three individuals to the Ocean City Municipal Airport, where they were clearly shaken up but otherwise uninjured.

Probable Cause In Sexual Assault Case

OCEAN CITY – Probable cause was found to move a sexual assault case to Circuit Court, after the case was presented to Judge Daniel Mumford at District Court Monday morning.

Sergio Luis Fernandez Rubio, 22, came before the court Monday to face charges of sexual offense in the third and fourth degree, fourth degree burglary and second-degree assault. Rubio, a foreign exchange student from Columbia, had been residing in Herndon, Va. and was visiting Ocean City at the time of the arrest.

On July 1, police responded to the Sea Bay Hotel at 6:30 a.m. in response to a claim of sexual offense. According to Officer Shawn Jones, Tracy Walker returned to her room, unit 501, shortly after 5 a.m. to go to bed. Walker went to sleep, but left the door slightly ajar so that the other people staying in the room with her could enter later without disturbing her.

Walker reportedly awoke to find someone in bed with her, who she originally thought was a friend. Upon awakening, Walker realized that the person’s fingers had penetrated her vagina. She pulled away, realizing that it was a stranger and asked him to leave. The man, later identified as Rubio, got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. He eventually left the room and Walker called the police.

The police found Rubio in the vicinity of unit 503. Walker positively identified him as the man in her room.

The officer said that Rubio told him he had been drinking all night and had returned to what he believed was his room. Rubio initially told officers that he had had no contact with Walker, but later admitted to being in the bed with her, explaining that he was drunk and could not remember the details.

While questioning Rubio, police noticed dried blood on his middle and ring fingers. After confirming that Rubio was not bleeding from anywhere and that Walker was on her menstrual period, police concluded that it was Walker’s blood on his fingers.

Rubio’s attorney pointed out that two other people had been in the room at the time of the assault. Jones explained that Walker’s sister and a friend had returned to the room and upon assuming that Walker was in the bed with a friend, left the room to give them privacy. Jones maintained that Rubio was not invited or welcome in the room.

Rubio’s attorney argued that there was not probable cause for the third degree sexual assault charge. The judge pointed out, however, that because there was not consent from Walker and because she was initially asleep, there was probable cause for all of the charges, moving the case to Circuit Court.

A request for a bond reduction was granted after Rubio’s attorney explained that Rubio was a foreign exchange student and that he was set to start school in California next week. Mumford reduced the bond from $75,000 to $50,000.

Charges Stick Despite Not Guilty Plea

OCEAN CITY – A local man chose to defend himself in District Court Monday morning pleading not guilty to charges of open container and possession of marijuana.

John Raymond Sterner, 50, plead guilty to open container and possession of marijuana charges that resulted from an arrest on May 20.

According to Officer Chris Snyder, he was heading southbound on a routine patrol when he noticed four males in the park at the entrance to the town, yelling at one another.

Snyder parked his car and approached the scene on foot. As he approached, the males dispersed. As he neared, however, he saw Sterner putting down a blue aluminum can and walk away from it. Snyder picked up the can, identifying it as a Bud Ice can with beer in it. Snyder then arrested Sterner for possession of an open container.

Upon searching Sterner, Snyder said he found a piece of plastic, similar to the cellophane found on cigarette boxes, with a cigarette inside that smelled of marijuana.

Sterner testified that neither the beer nor the marijuana was in his possession. According to Sterner, the beer was on the ground next to him and belonged to one of the other males in the area. Sterner claimed that the officer had not found the cellophane wrapper on him, but on the ground. Sterner maintained that he had been falsely accused.

Despite Sterner’s claims of being set up, Judge Daniel Mumford found him guilty, issuing him a fine of $557.50. “If I were you, I think I’d move somewhere else,” Judge Daniel Mumford advised Sterner, who agreed that Ocean City was not working out for him.

Guilty Plea For Disorderly Conduct

OCEAN CITY – A Jefferson, Md. man pled guilty to disorderly conduct charges in District Court Monday, but not before using the common defense that he was not trying to start a fight.

Adam Joseph Zidek, 20, plead guilty to charges stemming from a June 17 arrest that was the result of an altercation between him and other individuals.

According to reports, officers arrived on the scene to find a large group of 40 to 50 people gathered around an individual that was “in fighting posture.” The individual, identified as Zidek, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

“How come you got all fired up?,” Judge Daniel Mumford asked Zidek, who responded that it was three against one and that he had no choice but to fight. Mumford didn’t find merit in the excuse, telling Zidek to simply walk away next time. Zidek was sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and $357.50 in fines.

Assault Charges Put On Stet

SNOW HILL – A woman charged with assault after punching her boyfriend in the face in retaliation for being hit by him in the head with a trash bag containing a glass bottle had the charges against her placed on the stet docket this week in Worcester County Circuit Court.

On March 20, Ocean City Police responded to an EMS call for a head injury at a residence on Robin Drive. When police arrived on the scene, they discovered a man later identified as Neal Patrick Wells, 23, outside of his apartment bleeding. Inside the apartment, police discovered Wells’ girlfriend, Heather Carr, covered in blood as a result of a head laceration.

As police began to sort out what had happened, Wells told police he had gotten into a fight with Carr and that he had accidentally hit her with a trash bag, which caused her head injury. Wells said Carr then retaliated by punching him in the face, which caused his injuries.

Both Wells and Carr refused to be taken to the hospital. The investigation revealed the fight had escalated to the point Wells through the trash bag at Carr in rage, not knowing there was a Starbucks bottle in the bag, which caused her head injury. Wells told police at the time he didn’t mean to hit her with it.

Carr retaliated by punching Wells in the face before she realized the extent of her injuries. EMTs were called to treat Carr’s injuries, and the paramedics then forwarded the information about the dueling assaults to police. Both Wells and Carr were arrested for assault.

In June, Wells was found not guilty of assault in District Court in Ocean City. On Wednesday this week, Carr had the assault charges against her placed on the stet, or inactive, docket.