Cops And Courts – September 23, 2016

Cops And Courts – September 23, 2016
Social Issues Government

Murder Trial Underway

SNOW HILL — The murder trial for a Pocomoke man accused in the death of his 3-year-old nephew who died in his care back in May 2015 got underway this week.

On Saturday, May 2, 2015, a Virginia couple dropped off their son at the Pocomoke home of Kevin M. Sewell, then 27, and his wife. Sewell was the child’s uncle and the couple had dropped the 3-year-old off at his house for an overnight visit. When the child was returned to the couple the following day at their home in Accomack County, he had suffered severe trauma to his head and abdomen along with other injuries. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter in Norfolk where he died of injuries sustained while in his uncle’s care.

Sewell was later indicted on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse-death and neglect of a minor. His wife, Amanda Sewell, was also charged with first-degree child abuse-death and neglect of a minor. Kevin Sewell’s trial, set in for three days, began on Tuesday with jury selection, opening statements and witness testimony. Several witnesses testified on day one including the child’s mother and the medical examiner who conducted the victim’s autopsy.

First-Degree Assault Charges For Knife Threats

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on first-degree assault charges last week after allegedly threatening his parents with a kitchen knife while intoxicated.

Around 8:50 p.m. last Wednesday, Ocean City police responded to a residence on Nautical Lane for a reported domestic incident involving a knife threat. OCPD Communications told the responding officers Dominic Jeppi, 22, of Ocean City, had allegedly threatened his parents with a knife. The mother had locked herself in a bathroom and called police after Jeppi the threats.

When police arrived, they met with the victims who said Jeppi was still inside in his bedroom, but that he had returned the knife to the kitchen. When police interviewed Jeppi, he reportedly downplayed the incident and told officers his mother had overreacted and that the incident did not require the police. The officers noted apparently Jeppi was intoxicated and did not comprehend the seriousness of the situation and the dangerous circumstances he created.

Police then interviewed the mother, who said Jeppi had come home around 5 p.m. in an agitated state and was acting as if he was drunk or on drugs. The victim said Jeppi continued to drink at home and became verbally abusive toward her. When her husband interceded and tried to calm the situation and told Jeppi to apologize to his mother, Jeppi allegedly through a TV remote at his father.

At that point, Jeppi allegedly took a knife from the kitchen where he was preparing food and entered a bedroom where his mother had retreated. According to police reports, Jeppi advanced toward his mother waiving the knife while laughing. Jeppi then returned to the kitchen and waived the knife in a threatening manner toward his father. The mother than retreated to a bathroom and locked herself in before calling police. Based on the evidence, Jeppi was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, possession of a deadly weapon with intent to injure and reckless endangerment.

Assault, Disorderly At Motel

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania woman was charged with second-degree assault and disturbing the peace last weekend after allegedly screaming profanities after getting locked out of a resort hotel room and then grabbing the woman inside.

Around 12:20 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City police officer on patrol responded to a downtown motel for a reported disorderly individual. The officer arrived and observed the woman, later identified as Rebecca Bartlow, 48, of Temple, Pa., standing in a doorway at one of the units screaming profanities at the occupant including “you locked me out,” and “I’m going to slash your [expletive deleted] tires,” according to police reports.

Meanwhile, other motel guests opened their doors and observed the commotion, according to police reports. Bartlow told police she was mad at the woman inside because she had locked her out of the motel room. According to police reports, Barlow exhibited signs of being intoxicated and admitted drinking before the officer arrived.

Bartlow eventually gained entrance to the room and allegedly grabbed the woman inside by her upper arm while she was in bed. Based on the evidence and victim testimony, Bartlow was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

Hit-And-Run Suspect Arrested

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on hit-and-run charges last weekend after hitting a pedestrian ultimately flown to Shock Trauma with his vehicle and fleeing the scene.

Around 1:30 a.m. last Sunday, Salisbury Police responded to an area of South Salisbury Blvd. near North Blvd. for a reported hit-and-run motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian. Responding officer located a 21-year-old victim unresponsive in the roadway. The victim was taken first to PRMC and later transported to Shock Trauma for injuries considered serious.

The investigation revealed the victim was crossing S. Salisbury Blvd. when struck by a vehicle that left the scene. A Maryland State Police trooper spotted a dark green Honda matching the description driving nearby with front-end damage and a headlight out. The driver, identified as Devonta Walker, 23, of Salisbury was arrested and charged with leaving the scene and multiple traffic violations.

Fine For Dropping Drawers in Restaurant

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man arrested in August on indecent exposure charges after dropping his drawers in a crowded Boardwalk restaurant in the middle of a summer afternoon pleaded guilty this week to disorderly conduct and was fined $500.

Around 2:20 p.m. on Aug. 12, an OCPD officer on patrol in the area of 5th Street and the Boardwalk was approached by two female restaurant employees who reported a male suspect later identified as Randy Ardeno, 27, of Washington, Pa., had exposed his buttocks and genitals while standing in the busy restaurant.

The employees directed the officer to an area of the restaurant where Ardeno was found joking with three other male companions. The employees said Ardeno had been interacting with the other males when he suddenly dropped his shorts to the ground, exposing his private parts to his friends, restaurant employees and the public in general, which included families with young children at that time of day.

When approached about the incident, Ardeno was apologetic, reportedly telling police, “I’m sorry,” and “it was stupid.” Ardeno was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. On Wednesday, Ardeno pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was fined $500. He was also placed on probation for one year.

Oyster License Revoked

SALISBURY — A Wicomico County waterman had his commercial oyster license permanently revoked for entering a sanctuary on the Nanticoke River after a hearing last week in Annapolis.

On June 28, Hans Eric Kuntze, 59, of Nanticoke, was seen dredging for oysters more than 200 feet inside the Nanticoke River Sanctuary by officer conducting surveillance. When Kuntze returned to the dock, officers inspected the seven-plus bushels of oysters on his vessel and determined them to be of legal size.

Kuntze was issued citations for harvesting wild oysters from a sanctuary and harvesting oysters in a closed season and the oysters were returned to the sanctuary. During a hearing in front of an administrative law judge last week, Kuntze argued the markers used to set the boundary of the sanctuary were not in their correct position. He also insisted that the swift current could have pushed him into the restricted area.

However, the judge pointed out Kuntze had GPS on his vessel and also received from state officials the maps and coordinates of the sanctuary. In the end, the judge concluded the state had established by a preponderance of the evidence that Kuntze had harvested the seven-plus bushels of oysters from inside the prohibited area and permanently revoked his commercial oyster license.

In July, Kuntze allegedly turned his illegal harvest activities to blue crabs. On July 29, Kuntze received citations for possessing nearly 100 undersized blue crabs, along with eight female crabs in a mixed bushel. After an inspection revealed the violations, Kuntze told officers his crab gauge must be wrong. However, he refused the officers’ offer to check the gauge. The officers seized the live crabs and returned them to the water. Kuntze is scheduled to appear in Wicomico County District Court to face those charges because of prior convictions for the same offenses.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.