4 suspects in assault had trials pending Victim was witness in car break-ins case

February 18, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Four of five suspects accused of severely beating a teen-age witness Sunday in connection with thefts from more than 200 cars are awaiting trial on other criminal charges, court records show.

More than $10,000 in property -- from loose change to laptop computers -- have been taken primarily from unlocked cars between Westminster and Gamber since Jan. 1, said Capt. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman. Six young adults and a boy have been arrested in the thefts.

State police at the Westminster barracks said they believe the 17-year-old witness was assaulted in retaliation for his cooperation in a related arrest that day. Police spent yesterday running down loose ends in a complex investigation.

An 18-year-old suspect in the assault was convicted as an adult for assault and battery when he was 16, and has an unrelated assault charge pending, court records show. Three others accused in the assault have unrelated charges pending, court records show.

The investigation into the string of thefts escalated Sunday with the arrest of Mork Keith Fields, 18, of Charles Street, on charges of theft, possession with intent to distribute PCP, possession of marijuana and other counts.

Police allege Fields is the ringleader of a loosely knit group of teen-agers and young adults, all from Westminster, who have been feeding heroin addictions by pilfering money and sellable items from vehicles.

Fields was freed after posting $25,000 bail Monday, court records show.

Apparently in retaliation for Fields' arrest, a Westminster boy was lured to a Charles Street apartment, where he was beaten severely.

The victim, who police did not identify in order to protect him from further retaliation, suffered a 1-inch gash above his right eye and bruises after being punched and kicked. He was treated at Carroll County General Hospital, police said.

State and Westminster police rounded up most of those charged in the assault Monday morning. They also seized property allegedly stolen from vehicles since Jan. 1.

Charged yesterday with second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property, obstruction of justice, obstructing and hindering, accessory after the fact and related conspiracy counts were:

Shayne R. Thomas, 20, of Charles Street. He also was charged with theft under $300 and was freed yesterday on $15,000 bail.

Joshua D. Turner, 18, of South Court Street. He was held on $5,000 bail, pending a bail review hearing today.

Christopher C. Feenstra, 18, of Sullivan Avenue. He was held on $10,000 bail, pending a bail review hearing today.

Michael J. Graham, 25, of Sullivan Avenue. He was held on $5,000 bail, pending a bail review hearing today.

BTC A 17-year-old Westminster boy accused in the assault was charged with juvenile delinquency and held at the Cheltenham Youth Center in Prince George's County, said police, who are still searching for at least one teen-age girl believed to have been involved in the assault.

Arrested on charges of stealing a stereo headset belonging to the assault victim was Richard W. Wiseman Jr., 19, of Golden Eagle Court. He was released on his own recognizance.

Shipley said further investigation could implicate others in the thefts from area cars.

Court records show that Graham, Turner, Wiseman and Feenstra have unrelated cases pending. Graham and Turner face charges of malicious destruction in unrelated cases, and that Wiseman faces a charge of theft in an unrelated case.

Feenstra is scheduled for trial March 27 on unrelated assault and malicious destruction charges, court records show.

Feenstra, according to court records, is on five years' probation stemming from a stabbing incident in 1996 when he was 16; he had been waived to adult court on an attempted murder charge.

Court records show that he was convicted in July 1996 on lesser charges of assault with intent to injure and battery. The remaining charges were dropped, and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. All but two years were suspended and, in April, after he had served about 8 1/2 months in the Carroll County Detention Center, Feenstra's sentence was further modified, and the balance of the two-years was suspended.

Anyone with additional information or wishing to identify property missing from their cars since Jan. 1 should contact Cpl. Kevin Utz at the Westminster barracks, 410-848-3111, Shipley said.

Pub Date: 2/18/98

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