Last fall, we reported on the September 24, 2011 double shooting in Crisfield. Four people were arrested and charged in connection with this “running gun battle” that happened in broad daylight on the streets of Crisfield that left two people shot and one in Shock Trauma.
Three out of four of the co-defendants have gone to trial and only one has faced any repercussions for his actions. Two had their charges dismissed. One has a case still pending.
Shooting cases should be one crime that is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but Dan Powell seems content to let violent criminals off again and again with just a slap on the wrist.
Dionte Collins gets time served
The first person charged in this case, Dionte Collins was out on the street as a result of Dan Powell stetting his handgun and witness intimidation case back in January 2011.
Collins was charged with multiple counts of attempted first and second degree murder, reckless endangerment, affray, first and second degree assault, handgun offenses, and disorderly conduct.
In a deal that set Collins free last week, Dan Powell let Collins tender an Alford plea to one count of “affray” (a misdemeanor). Powell agreed to a sentence of 5 years with all but the 7 months, 5 days he had already served suspended. (Having twice received sweetheart deals in handgun cases from Dan Powell, one can only wonder if a condition of his probation be that he register to vote and wear a green t-shirt.)
An “affray” is where two people voluntarily decide to fight each other. It is typically used for the “let’s take this outside” type of bar fight. We are going to go out on a limb here and say that never in the history of Somerset County has a gun battle resulted in only an affray conviction.
Alexander Dejarnette’s case has not yet gone to trial. It is scheduled for June 8. But Dan isn’t using the attempted murder charges as leverage to get a better plea from him. Instead, back on April 13, 2012, for apparently no reason other than his love for thugs, Dan Powell simply nolle prossed all of the attempted murder charges.
William Melrice Ward
We wrote in detail about William Melrice Ward back in January 2012. He had been charged by the Crisfield Police in connection with the double shooting. The charges were short lived, however, because on November 17, 2011, Dan Powell’s office dismissed charges of handgun on person, reckless endangerment, affray, and obstructing and hindering.
When, only a few months later, William Ward was arrested in connection with pointing a handgun at several juveniles, Crisfield police chief Mike Tabor was furious and openly criticized the State’s Attorney for allowing Ward back out on the street in the first place.
Never one to take criticism well, Dan Powell promptly recharged William Ward with charges stemming from the double shooting the next time he convened a grand jury. And guess what he did with these charges? You guessed it, he nolle prossed it again on May 7, 2012, making William Ward, Jr. the first person in Somerset County history who has been let off twice for the same crime by the State’s Attorney.
Police Chief Mike Tabor was unavailable for comment about this latest dismissal of charges against one of Crisfield’s most wanted.
The fourth and final person charged in the double shooting was Patrick Shanks. Shanks was charged with obstructing and hindering a police investigation, making a false statement to a police officer, and two counts of attempted affray. On December 5, 2011, his charges were nolle prossed. Like Dionte Collins, Patrick Shanks had robbery charges stetted by Dan Powell in July 2011.