Former Maryland official's burglary trial begins

April 07, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

John M. Staubitz Jr., the former health official who skimmed thousands of dollars from the Maryland State Games, embarked on a series of daytime burglaries after his release from prison "because he needed some excitement," an alleged accomplice testified yesterday.

Robert Ernest Emmons Jr., an experienced thief who befriended Staubitz in prison, said the two men embarked on the crime spree after Emmons was released.

"John had indicated that he needed some excitement in his life," Emmons said.

Staubitz, 45, of the 6900 block of Pinecrest Road in Catonsville, went on trial yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court on five charges of daytime housebreaking and five counts of grand theft for a series of break-ins in September in the northern part of the county.

Defense attorney Frank Coleman told the jury in his opening statement that Staubitz has an alibi for most of the periods during which he is alleged to have conducted the break-ins with Emmons.

Emmons, 29, formerly of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to two of the break-ins in January and got a 20-year sentence. He ultimately agreed to testify for the prosecution. He has a record of theft, forgery and passing bad checks, dating back to 1983, he said.

After the two were caught, he told told the jury, he agreed to concoct a story "so I would take the weight and he [Staubitz] would go free." In return, Emmons said, "His [Staubitz'] parents would take care of me."

He said they made up a story, which they told to a Sun reporter, that Mr. Staubitz had been writing a book exposing state corruption and that "mysterious guys" had hired Emmons to frame Mr. Staubitz and discredit him.

He also described how he and Mr. Staubitz broke into five homes on Upper Beckleysville Road, Cotter Road, Keeney Mill Road and Wesley Chapel Road between Sept. 10 and Sept. 22, stealing silver, guns, jewelry and other items.

Mr. Staubitz, once a deputy state health secretary, was convicted in 1992 of skimming thousands of dollars from the Maryland State Games, an amateur athletic competition. He served seven months of a 10-month sentence and was released from prison in February 1993.

While serving his sentence, he met Emmons, who was released last April.

The two men also have been charged with several break-ins in Carroll and Howard counties.

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