2 brothers convicted as kingpins Marijuana ring was county's biggest

April 20, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

James and Roger Emory were convicted yesterday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court of running the biggest marijuana ring in county history. The jury had deliberated for about seven hours over two days.

James Emory appeared angry as the jury foreman read the guilty verdicts against him in a packed courtroom. His brother, Roger, appeared somber. And Nikki Emory, 22, Roger Emory's daughter, began crying as the first verdict was read.

The case gained widespread attention when James Emory's wife, Patricia, a former principal of Severna Park Elementary School, was arrested on kingpin charges. Those charges later were dropped.

James Emory was convicted on three counts of being a drug kingpin and charges of importation of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 pounds of marijuana.

Roger Emory, who faced the same charges, was convicted on all except one kingpin count and an importation of marijuana charge.

Each drug kingpin count carries a mandatory 20-year sentence. Sentencing is scheduled for May 10.

Neither man would comment.

As they were led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, they paused in the hallway to console Roger Emory's wife, Linda, his daughter and their mother, Virginia Watts.

"Come on, girls," James Emory said as he kissed his mother on the cheek. "Don't do this," he said.

"We don't care about this," Mrs. Watts stormed later. "There will be an appeal. Then there won't be so many lies. This has been a kangaroo court. The judge was biased. The police lied, and the press hasn't helped either."

Timothy Murnane, Roger Emory's attorney, said the verdict against his client was inconsistent and that the mandatory sentence is unjustified.

"How can you be a kingpin and then not be a kingpin? How can you be a kingpin and not an importer?" he asked. "Why is it that a judge can have discretion in a murder case but not in a drug case?"

Peter S. O'Neill, James Emory's attorney, said he did not think his client deserved 20 years in prison and promised to appeal.

"No question that we are extremely disappointed," he said.

None of the jurors would speak to reporters.

State's Attorney Frank Weathersbee said the testimony from Lawrence C. Leiben, a co-defendant who pleaded guilty to lesser charges, was credible and was substantiated by an FBI documents expert.

Leiben testified that the brothers were partners in the organization and that he bought up to 50 pounds of marijuana a month from James Emory.

He said Philip Dulany, another co-defendant, drove to New York to buy marijuana from sources that James Emory knew there.

"He was a credible witness, and his testimony was certainly corroborated," Mr. Weathersbee said of Leiben.

Mr. Weathersbee praised the county police narcotics unit and Detective Mike Chandler, the lead investigator. The detective, who spent 10 months investigating the Emorys before their arrest Oct. 29, said he was relieved that the trial was over.

"Now I can get back to work," he said. "I have a lot of cases I have put on hold because of this."

Since her arrest, Patricia Emory has been on administrative leave with pay.

Mrs. Emory, who did not attend the trial, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Emory brothers, their wives and six others were arrested after police seized about 400 pounds of marijuana from storage lockers in the county.

Three of the co-defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Kingpin charges against the wives were dropped, but Linda Emory still faces a possession of marijuana charge.

Barry Parker, the last co-defendant, still faces trial on charges of distributing marijuana.

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