Grinch Steals Christmas
WHALEYVILLE – Maryland State Police this week are looking for the suspect or suspects who broke into a residence in Bishopville last week just three days before Christmas and stole, among other things, wrapped gifts for small children.
Around 5:30 p.m. last Monday, Maryland State Police troopers from the Berlin barrack responded to a residence on, ironically, Ebenezer Rd. in Whaleyville for a reported burglary. The investigation revealed sometime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. that day, an unknown suspect or suspects entered the residence and burglarized it. According to police reports, a vehicle had pulled up to the rear of the residence and the suspect or suspects gained access to the inside by breaking a rear bedroom window.
Once inside, the perpetrator or perpetrators stole numerous items including clothing, jewelry, currency and coins, a gift card for the Salisbury Mall, a vacuum cleaner and a dehumidifier. Also stolen were wrapped Christmas presents for a two-month-old girl, an 18-month-old boy and five-year-old boy. The victims’ estimated the value of the stolen goods at around $1,000.
Anyone with information regarding the burglary is encouraged to call the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.
Drug Arrests In Berlin
BERLIN – Maryland State Police made two arrests on drug and other charges this week after the driver of a vehicle in a routine traffic stop was found with a substantial amount of marijuana in her car and the man who attempted to come to her rescue was also found with drugs.
Shortly after midnight on Monday, a Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol in the area of Route 113 and Bay Street in Berlin pulled a car over for a routine traffic violation. Upon contact with the driver, identified as Apree Tarah Beard, 20, of Berlin, the trooper noticed the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The trooper also noticed Beard making furtive moves in the direction of the back seat during the stop.
A probable cause search revealed a zip lock bag of suspected marijuana nestled in the back seat of the vehicle. The estimated value of the pot seized during the search was $1,200. Beard was then arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.
While at the scene, a male subject, later identified as Demar Antonio Leonard, 20, of Berlin, arrived and became belligerent with the officers on the scene. Leonard, who is reportedly Beard’s boyfried, became disorderly and failed to obey a lawful order, causing a large crowd to form around the scene. Leonard was also arrested, and was found to be in possession of marijuana and cocaine. He was also charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia.
For Leonard, his arrest this week is his latest run-in with local law enforcement officials. In July 2006, Leonard and another plaintiff filed a multi-million dollar civil suit against the town of Ocean City and six OCPD officers alleging police brutality during what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. In September, a settlement was reached in the case paying Leonard and his co-plaintiff $63,000, with the former awarded $60,000.
All in all, 93 separate counts were listed in the suit, each seeking $200,000 in damages, resulting in a total of $18.6 million being sought by the two plaintiffs in the case identified Leonard and the other plaintiff, who were juveniles at the time of the incident in question in July 2006.
OCPD Officers Grason Kershner, Christopher Costa, Frank Soscia and Officer Rutter, Corporal Ray Land and Pfc. Frank Wrench were named as defendants in the civil suit. The counts against each officer named include assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, and excessive force, violation of Maryland Declaration of Rights and violation of U.S. Constitution. The town of Ocean City was named in the latter two counts because it is the employer of the officers identified as defendants in the case.
Leonard and Bishop were in front of the 7-Eleven convenience store on North Division Street on July 16, 2006 when they were approached by OCPD officers. The police believed at the time Leonard and Bishop matched the description of two suspects wanted in connection with a shoplifting spree at the CVS store on 120th Street earlier that week.
In the course of the questioning, Leonard and Bishop allegedly failed to provide identification and generally refused to cooperate, according to police reports. The incident eventually escalated into a physical altercation between the officers and the plaintiffs, who were ultimately arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest among others.
Last January, Leonard was found guilty of two counts of assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in District Court, but Westcott immediately filed an appeal. In Circuit Court in May 2007, the convictions against Leonard were overturned on appeal, which provided the catalyst for the roughly $19 million civil suit filed by the defendants.
Pair Arrested In
Separate Assault Cases
OCEAN PINES – Two Berlin men were arrested on domestic assault charges last week in separate incidents two days apart in Ocean Pines.
On Dec. 21, Ocean Pines Police arrested Benjamin Alexander Coleman-Rammer, 24, of Berlin and charged him with second-degree assault as the result of a domestic incident that happened in the community. Coleman-Rammer was taken before a District Court Commissioner and released on his own recognizance pending trial.
Two days later, on Dec. 23, Pines Police arrested Justin Joseph Roehrig, 20, of Ocean Pines, and charged him with second-degree assault as the result of another domestic incident in the community. Roehrig was also taken before a court commissioner and released on personal recognizance while awaiting trial.
Sentencing Date Set
SNOW HILL – One of three men convicted in the beating death of a local woman in Pocomoke in January 2007 has a sentencing hearing set for Jan. 16 in Worcester County Circuit Court in Snow Hill.
Shawn Anthony Treherne, 23, of Bowie, Md. pleaded guilty in October to manslaughter for his role in the beating death of Judy Lynn Wojcik, 41, in Pocomoke on Jan. 13, 2007. Treherne’s plea agreement in October came after a co-defendant in the case, David Keyvonne Justice, 20, of Pocomoke, struck his own deal in the case by providing prosecutors with more information about his co-defendants including Treherne.
Just last week, Justice pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for his role in the killing, but his fate was delayed pending the completion of the pre-sentence investigation. A third defendant, Kendall Irin Northam, 20, of Pocomoke, earlier this year was found guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault and was sentenced to 30 years in jail.
A Worcester County grand jury last February indicted Northam, Treherne and Justice charging them with first-degree murder and other charges related to the beating death of Wojcik, whose body was found by trappers in a rural area near Pocomoke last January.
Early on in the investigation, detectives identified Treherne and Northam as suspects, but it was not until later that they started to believe Justice was involved. On Jan. 23, police arrested Northam after a short chase and Treherne was taken into custody with the help of U.S. Marshals and the Prince George’s County Criminal Task Force near Bowie, Md. Later that evening, Justice was arrested in connection with the case.
According to court records, a concerned witness told detectives he allegedly spoke to Northam shortly after the murder was reported to the police and that Northam said himself, Treherne and another man picked up Wojcik and drove her to a wooded area where she was to perform sex acts for money and drugs. Northam allegedly told the witness a disagreement arose for some reason at which time they beat and kicked Wojcik and left her in the wooded area. Northam also allegedly told the witness the three men retrieved the money they had given the victim by going through her pockets.
From the beginning, each of the defendants provided information to police about the other two in an effort to get a softer sentence. Justice cut his own deal in the case by providing prosecutors with more information about Treherne’s role in the death of Wojcik, which facilitated the manslaughter plea arrangement.
Crack Dealer Case
Forwarded to Circuit
SNOW HILL – A Pocomoke man arrested in October after being targeted by the OCPD narcotics unit for two months for distribution of crack cocaine had his case forwarded to the Circuit Court last week.
In October, a two-month undercover narcotics investigation concluded when OCPD officers arrested Brian Lee Harmon, 36, of Pocomoke. On two separate occasions during the investigation, Harmon allegedly sold crack cocaine to an undercover OCPD narcotics officer. Harmon was charged with two counts each of distribution of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute a counterfeit controlled dangerous substance.
Harmon was taken before an Ocean City District Court Commissioner and was held at the Worcester County Jail on a $100,000 bond. Assisting in the apprehension of Harmon was the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team. Last week, Harmon appeared in District Court, where probable cause was discovered, forwarding the case to Worcester County Circuit Court.
Fine, Probation In
DUI, Drug Case
BERLIN – A Forest Hill, Md. man was arrested on drug possession charges this week after pot was discovered in his vehicle after a routine traffic stop was found guilty last week in District Court of possession of paraphernalia and failure to drive right of center and was placed on probation for each charge and fined $400.
On Sept. 27, a Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol stopped a Chevrolet truck for a traffic violation. The trooper suspected the driver, later identified as George Richard Friend, 55, of Forest Hill, may have been intoxicated, and after some field tests Friend was taken into custody for driving under the influence of alcohol. A search of the vehicle revealed an amount of marijuana and a smoking device.
In addition to the DUI charge, Friend was also charged with possession of CDS-marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Last week in District Court, Friend was placed on probation for failure to drive to the right of center and possession of paraphernalia and was fined $400.
Alert Siren Test Tomorrow
SNOW HILL – Tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 3, residents across Worcester will again be hearing the emergency alert signals from their local fire sirens as county emergency services test an additional means to warn communities about imminent danger and the need to tune into radio, television or the Internet for information in the event of an emergency.
The sirens are tested the first Saturday of each month. Residents and visitors in the area will hear a steady alert tone beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting for about one minute. Since the end of the Cold War, the most serious threats to Worcester County and the Eastern Shore have been weather related, but the emergency alert sirens have gone largely unused.
However, emergency alert sirens such as the ones being tested tomorrow continue to be deployed in other areas of the country prone to tornados and other natural disasters. The re-institution of the emergency alert system in Worcester is viewed as another means by which county officials can warn residents and visitors of pending emergencies.