Cops And Courts – March 24, 2017

Cops And Courts – March 24, 2017
Social Issues Government

Traffic Stop Leads To Heroin, Weapon

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on weapons and drug charges last weekend after a routine traffic stop revealed he was carrying a knife and heroin.

Around 6:20 p.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer observed a vehicle at 123rd Street and Coastal Highway with a cracked rear tail light. The officer conducted a traffic stop and made contact with the occupants of the vehicle including front seat passenger Edward Paddy, 41, of Ocean City, driver Laura Sue Cooper and rear passenger Thomas Edward Green.

The officer approached the vehicle and Paddy started getting out without being instructed to do so. The officer observed a knife concealed in Paddy’s pants pocket. For his safety, the officer conducted a frisk of Paddy and discovered an assisted opening knife. While the first officer was investigating, a second OCPD officer arrived on the scene and conducted a K-9 scan of the vehicle.

The K-9 alerted to the positive presence of a controlled dangerous substance in the vehicle and a search was conducted. During the search, officers located nine clear plastic bags containing suspected heroin on the rear passenger floorboard. On the rear passenger seat, officers located a plastic bag that included more plastic Baggies, blue wax paper and a cut plastic straw, all of which are known to be used for the packaging and use of heroin.

Based on the evidence, Paddy, Cooper and Green were arrested for possession of heroin. Paddy was also charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon. During booking at the Public Safety Building, officers noticed Paddy had something in his mouth. A search revealed Paddy had six additional clear plastic baggies and blue wax paper containing heroin in his mouth.

Reduced Sentence Nixed In Manslaughter Case

SNOW HILL — A Worcester County judge last week denied a request for a sentence reduction from a Sparrows Point man sentenced to six years in jail in January after being convicted of manslaughter for throwing the fatal punch that claimed the life of another Baltimore County man in Ocean City on Memorial Day weekend last May.

In November, a Worcester County Circuit Court jury found Darren Beattie, 22, of Sparrows Point, Md., guilty of manslaughter for his role in the death of Ryan Shupert, 31, of Lutherville, Md. on May 29 in Ocean City. Beattie threw a single punch to Shupert’s head that ultimately claimed his life. Beattie was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center following the incident and later declared to be brain dead. Shupert, an organ donor, was kept alive for a few days until his organs could be harvested and was later taken off life support, turning an assault probe into a homicide investigation.

After a day-and-a-half trial in November, the jury deliberated for about 45 minutes before returning with guilty verdicts for the homicide charge along with the lesser charges including second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. In January, Beattie was sentenced to 10 years in jail with all but six years suspended and immediately filed an appeal in the state Court of Special Appeals.

Beattie also filed a motion for reconsideration of sentence, asserting the six-year sentence handed down by Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton was excessive. Last week, Groton ruled on the motion, denying the request for a reduction of sentence. The motion for reduction of sentenced was filed on several grounds.

For example, Beattie’s attorney pointed out in the motion that prior to the fateful fight in Ocean City last May, his client had little or no interaction with the criminal court system. In addition, the motion pointed out the sentencing guidelines in the case called for range of six months to five years. Also, at sentencing in January, prosecutors asked for a sentence of 10 years with all but five suspended.

The Worcester County judge denied the motion to reduce Beattie’s sentence last week. Meanwhile, his appeal filed in the Court of Special Appeals has not yet been ruled upon.

Around 2:30 a.m. on May 29, Shupert and his friends were riding a northbound city bus to the area of 130th Street where they were staying for the holiday weekend when they were confronted by Beattie and his group of friends. That interaction spurred a verbal argument on the bus with no shortage of expletives launched between the two groups. According to testimony at trial, Beattie and his group got off the bus at 130th Street and as the verbal altercation escalated, Beattie and his group challenged Shupert and his three friends to get off the bus and fight.

According to testimony, Shupert and his friends wanted no part of a potential fight and continued on the bus until it reached 142nd Street, or near the end of its northerly route, even though it went well past their planned stop. Shupert and his friends then walked back southbound toward Montego Bay when the encountered Beattie and his group again around 136th Street.

According to testimony during trial, Shupert and his group gave Beattie and his group a wide berth and stepped off the sidewalk and onto Coastal Highway to avoid further confrontation. When the verbal argument ensued again, Beattie lunged at Shupert, striking him in the head with a blow that ultimately claimed his life.

Indecent Exposure, Destruction Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A Georgetown, Del. man was arrested on multiple charges last week after first allegedly running in traffic on Coastal Highway, exposing himself to an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer and then destroying a surveillance camera and light fixture in his holding cell.

Around 2:40 a.m. last Saturday, an OCPD officer on patrol in the area of 48th Street observed an allegedly intoxicated man later identified as Juan Espinoza-Cortez, 23, of Georgetown, Md. and checked on his welfare but determined he did not need police assistance at the time. About 20 minutes later, OCPD officers observed Espinoza-Cortez run across the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway and stop at the median, waving his arms and shouting as vehicles passed by.

According to police reports, Espinoza-Cortez then through the intersection again, stopping at the median and yelling and violently shaking his arms at passing vehicles again. An OCPD officer positioned his police vehicle in the driveway of a nearby hotel as Espinoza-Cortez stumbled toward him on foot, according to police reports. As Espinoza-Cortex walked toward police, the officer noticed he had exposed himself and was urinating on the public sidewalk and driveway.

Once Espinoza-Cortez reached the officer’s vehicle, he supported himself on the passenger side fender with his free hand while he continued to urinate. According to police reports, when the officer told him to stop and put his private parts back in his pants, Espinoza-Cortez reportedly told the officer, “Sorry, bro, I just can’t help it. You know how it is.”

At that point, Espinoza-Cortez was arrested and charged with intoxicated endangerment and indecent exposure. During his transport to the Public Safety Building for processing, Espinoza-Cortez launched into a string of expletives directed at the officer. While in his holding cell awaiting an appearance before a District Court Commissioner, Espinoza-Cortez allegedly destroyed a surveillance camera mounted in the ceiling valued at $1,400. He also allegedly punched a fluorescent ceiling light fixture repeatedly in his cell causing the inner lighting shield to break and malicious destruction of property charges were added.

Insistent On Flat Tire Driving

OCEAN CITY — A Waldorf, Maryland man was arrested on suspicion of drunk and drugged driving last weekend after being told multiple times by police not to drive a vehicle with a flat tire.

Around 10:50 p.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers on patrol in the area of 145th Street observed a vehicle with a flat front driver’s side tire and an individual later identified as Delano Wright, who had turned 22 on St. Patrick’s Day, standing nearby. OCPD officers made contact with Wright and detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from his person and from the interior of the vehicle.

According to police reports, when Wright stood up from his seated position, he lost his balance and nearly fell backward. Because he was not in the vehicle and because it was parked in a public parking spot on the street, the OCPD officers did not cite Wright and advised him not to drive the vehicle because of its condition and his, according to police reports.

Around 1:30 a.m., OCPD officers observed the vehicle with the flat tire still in the position it was located earlier, this time with Wright sitting behind the wheel although the vehicle was not running. Again, police detected the strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from Wright’s person and from the inside of the vehicle, according to police reports.

Again, Wright was advised not to drive the vehicle. According to police reports, Wright told police he wanted to go to the Public Safety Building. He was ordered not to drive the vehicle, which incidentally still had a flat tire, and was directed instead to use the municipal bus. According to police reports, OCPD officers last saw Wright as he was walking toward the north-end bust terminal at 145th Street.

Shortly after 2 a.m., the same OCPD officer saw the vehicle, a 2011 Dodge Charger, driving south on Coastal Highway at 122nd Street. According to police reports, the officer noticed the vehicle was driving particularly slow and that it was riding on a flat tire with the rim on the roadway. The OCPD officer stopped the vehicle and found Wright behind the wheel.

The officer asked Wright if anyone had told him not to drive the vehicle and he responded no, according to police reports. Wright then told the officer he was fine and that he was simply going to pick up his friends. When asked what he had to drink that night, Wright told police he had two drinks earlier. He also admitted smoking marijuana earlier.

Wright was administered a battery of field sobriety tests which he did not complete to the officer’s satisfaction. He was then arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.