Berlin Man Sentenced For Rifle Threat

Berlin Man Sentenced For Rifle Threat
Joseph Baker, Sr.

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man found guilty of assault and weapons charges for threatening to blow a tenant’s head off during an incident last November was sentenced last week to 20 years in prison, all but seven of which were then suspended.

On June 12, 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. Sentencing was deferred at that time pending a pre-sentence investigation.

Back in court last Friday, Baker was sentenced to 20 years in prison, all but seven years of which were then suspended. He was also placed on supervised probation for five years upon his release.

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.

Maryland State Police (MSP) 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. She also commended her team of prosecutors for their thorough and thoughtful presentation at the sentencing hearing.

“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.