COLUMBIA MAN CHARGED WITH MAKING UP STORY
A Columbia man who claimed in July that he was attacked by unknown assailants at the site of the Carl Jonathan Bowie hanging death has been charged with making up the story, county police and court records said.
Jeffrey Allan Phipps, 22, has been charged with making a false statement to a police officer and was served Monday with a summons to appear in Howard County District Court, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county police spokesman.
Phipps, a friend of the Bowie family, said on July 5 that several assailants attacked him from behind while he was at the site of the Oakland Mills High School athletic backstop where Bowie was found hanged.
Phipps claimed the assailants put a rope or wire around his neck and dragged him into nearby woods, cut him with a knife and left him unconscious. But police say Phipps' story is inconsistent with the types of injuries he should have received had he been so severely attacked.
No signs of blood were found on Phipps' clothing and a physician who treated Phipps told police that the marks on his throat were not severe enough to have been caused by someone being choked, court records said.
Bowie's death in May, originally ruled a suicide by county police, touched off a wave of public concern when several Columbia residents claimed that the 19-year-old former Oakland Mills student was not the type to kill himself.
Bowie and his twin brother, Mickey, had charged two county police officers with excessive force shortly after they were arrested during a Jan. 5 incident at a Jessup motel, where the Bowies claimed they were severely beaten. A county police internal affairs investigation has charged three officers with excessive force for the incident.
Phipps had been scheduled to testify in the trial of Mickey Bowie, who faces charges of battery and resisting arrest for the January scuffle at the motel. Mickey Bowie's initial appearance was scheduled for July 5, the same day that Phipps went to police with his story of the assault.
In an initial police interview following the reported assault at the backstop, Phipps told a detective "I want to testify to what happened (at the motel incident) but I want to testify in my own words. I am sick of people telling me of what I have to say," court records said.
Court records say that Phipps' "real motive" for making the claim of assault was that he was fearful of testifying in the Bowie case.
"The defendant chose to find a means to avoid having to make that difficult decision and therefore staged the entire assault and abduction," the court records said. "The defendant believed he would be in the hospital at the time of the trial and could not testify. He then would have avoided the conflict he was in."
The charge of making a false report is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and not more than six months in jail.
ARMED ROBBERS HIT COLUMBIA STORE
Two men wearing nylon stocking masks robbed an undisclosed amount of cash Monday from the Columbia Exxon convenience store after threatening the manager with a sawed-off shotgun, county police said.
The men entered the store, located in the 10600 block of Little Patuxent Parkway, shortly before 6:20 a.m. and demanded to know where the money was kept, police said. The manager then led them to a back room of the store.
Police say the men then took the money from a box in the room and left without further incident. Police would not reveal the amount taken from the business.
Both men are described as black males in their early to mid-20s, police said. One is described as approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall with a thin build and the other is 6-feet-tall with a medium build and wearing a red windbreaker, police said.
COLUMBIA MAN HURT AS RIFLE DISCHARGES
A Columbia man suffered minor injuries Saturday when bullet fragments flew from a Russian rifle that accidentally discharged at his home, sending the bullets through the floor and into an apartment below, county police said.
Shawn Gelsdorf, 23, of the 5300 block of Brook Way, was treated and released from Howard County General Hospital for powder burns, hand and head injuries, police said.
Police say Gelsdorf was loading his 7.62mm bolt-action Russian rifle shortly before 1 p.m. when two bullets became jammed in the chamber. While Gelsdorf attempted to unjam the weapon, both bullets discharged, causing fragments to fly from the weapon, police said.
The bullets went through the floor and into an unoccupied apartment below, police said. Police say no charges were filed.
* A compilation of some of the crimes reported to Howard County police and state police:
10300 block Hickory Ridge Road: Dec. 11, a 1989 Ford Probe was reported stolen at 6:30 a.m. from a residential parking lot.
6500 block Overheart Lane: Dec. 10, a car stereo was reported stolen at 8 a.m. from a car parked in a residential area.
7500 block Lairds Way: Dec. 9, camera equipment, cash and jewelry were reported stolen at 8 p.m. from a home forcibly entered through a rear basement window.
10700 Faulkner Ridge Circle: Dec. 9, an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen sometime before 11:55 p.m. from a home entered through a sliding glass door.
5300 block Harper's Farm Road: Dec. 7, a 1986 Chevrolet automobile was stolen sometime during the evening from a residential parking lot.
7300 block Broken Staff: Dec. 7, a 1989 Ford Mustang was stolen during the evening from a residential parking lot.
5400 block Fall River Court: Dec. 7, a television and a videocassette recorder were reported stolen at 3 p.m. from a residence. No signs of forced entry were found.
7700 block U.S. 1: Dec. 8, a 1975 Dodge Van was stolen before 11:55 p.m.
from a residential parking lot.