It seemed highly unlikely initially that the Ocean City Police Department would be able to apprehend anyone involved in the north Ocean City homicide over the Memorial Day weekend.
Due to the late-night nature of the incident, the uncongested site of the fight, the multiple pleas by police for witnesses to come forward with leads and the likelihood intoxication was involved, all indications were it was going to be a difficult case.
The good news is two weeks after the incident a suspect has been charged with manslaughter and second-degree assault for the death of a Maryland man. It will likely remain a difficult case to prosecute as far as securing a manslaughter conviction, but it’s a positive that charges have been filed in the incident and there is a chance at personal culpability after all.
All judgment has to be withheld until the suspect has his day in court, but this on the surface seems to represent fine police work by the investigators involved in the case. It began with so little to go on, but surveillance video and citizen tips combined with some good fortune helped detectives identify a suspect from Baltimore County. Working with Baltimore County police, the suspect’s location was learned and a warrant for his arrest was issued. He turned himself in on Tuesday afternoon in Ocean City and now faces manslaughter and second-degree assault charges.
With one suspect identified, it will be interesting in the coming weeks to see if any additional individuals face related charges. That appears unlikely, at least at this time, as the facts appear to line up. After some verbal sparring on a municipal bus between two groups, there was a confrontation around 136th Street and Coastal Highway involving the same individuals. How many punches were thrown in the encounter is unknown, but sources indicate the suspect punched the victim in the face, breaking his jaw, and causing him to strike something on the ground in a fashion that rendered him lifeless. He later was pronounced dead at the hospital.
How the court system handles this situation will be interesting, but we don’t expect a major sentence here if a conviction is secured. There is a lot of recent precedent for these sorts of incidents when physical confrontations have the gravest of results. They are essentially accidental in nature, but when they result in death there must be consequences.
Thanks to exemplary and timely police work, the homicide case can now wind its way through the court system. That looked doubtful two weeks ago.