Man Found Guilty Of Gun Threat Against Tenant

SNOW HILL — A Berlin man faces as many as 26 years in prison after a Worcester County jury this week found him guilty of assault and weapons charges for threatening to blow a tenant’s head off during an incident last November.

On Wednesday, a Worcester County Circuit Court jury found Joseph Baker, Sr., 56, of Berlin, guilty of second-degree assault, illegal possession of a rifle by a disqualified person, illegal possession of a rifle by a prohibited person and illegal possession of ammunition. Baker faces a total of 26 years at sentencing, which was deferred by Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Beau Oglesby pending a pre-sentence investigation.

The charges stem from an incident on Libertytown Road in Berlin back on November 4. Local law enforcement was dispatched to the location for a reported landlord-tenant dispute involving a weapon. The investigation revealed Baker, who was the landlord, threatened to blow his tenant’s head off while pointing a rifle at him.

joseph baker mug

Joseph Baker, Sr.

Maryland State Police troopers located Baker nearby and placed him under arrest. MSP troopers also recovered a rifle, a shotgun and ammunition in Baker’s home. A criminal background check revealed Baker was disqualified and prohibited from possessing any firearms or ammunition. Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser commended the MSP’s investigative efforts which led to the successful prosecution of the case.

“We are grateful that no one was injured as a result of this defendant’s actions and we applaud law enforcement for working to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals in Worcester County,” she said.

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.