SNOW HILL — A Berlin teen charged in May for his role in the death of another teen during an altercation pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder and now awaits his fate pending a pre-sentence investigation.
Around 6:15 p.m. last May 20, Berlin Police responded to a wooded area behind an apartment complex near Route 113 for a reported altercation that had occurred. Berlin Police responded to the area after a suspect identified as Vershawn Hudson-Crawford, 16, of Berlin, walked to the department’s headquarters with his mother and grandmother to report he had been involved in a fight.
During the course of the conversation, investigators learned the location of the victim, later identified as Dehaven Nichols, 17, of Berlin, in the wooded area. Berlin Police responded and found Nichols unresponsive in the wooded area. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by Berlin EMS.
The preliminary investigation determined the two boys had been involved in a fight. Maryland State Police (MSP) Homicide Unit investigators responded and took over the investigation. Based on the evidence, Hudson-Crawford was charged with first- and second-degree murder along with other assault charges.
During a hearing on Tuesday in Worcester County Circuit Court in Snow Hill, Hudson-Crawford pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. His trial, which had been postponed multiple times, had been laid in for five days beginning Feb. 10.
Hudson-Crawford has been held without bond since the incident in May and he remains in custody following the plea hearing on Tuesday. The second-degree murder conviction carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.
In July, when the first-degree murder count was still on the table, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office filed a notice to seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in the case. In June, roughly one month after the incident, the defense filed a motion to transfer the case to juvenile court, a motion that was ultimately denied.