Suspect in Howard explosives case back in jail after temporary release

March 25, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

An Ellicott City man suspected of hoarding guns and explosives, and who won release from the Howard County jail late Thursday, was back in custody yesterday.

Richmond C. Laney, 44, a former Republican candidate for Howard sheriff, was arrested in Woodlawn at 12:10 a.m. yesterday, police said, charged with 14 counts of possession and manufacture of destructive devices, possession of explosives without a license and reckless endangerment. He was ordered held on $1 million bond by a District Court commissioner in Ellicott City.

"We wanted to do what was in the best interests of public safety," Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said of the decision to take Laney back into custody. Police from Howard and Baltimore counties, aided by Howard County sheriff's deputies, said they arrested Laney without incident in the 1600 block of Cantwell Road in Woodlawn and returned him to Ellicott City.

He got out of jail Thursday evening after Howard County Deputy State's Attorney I. Matthew Campbell dropped the weapons and explosive charges because of a flaw in the indictment's wording. The case, with corrected charges, is to be presented to a grand jury as soon as possible, Campbell said.

Because Laney was serving a jail term for contempt - nonpayment of child support - Howard County State's Attorney Marna L. McLendon said she thought he would remain behind bars until the weapons and explosive charges were filed.

But Laney had appealed his contempt conviction, so he posted $2,000 appeal bond and left jail.

His release worried several courthouse officials, who fear he bears them ill will over his child-support case. A stash of weapons, including a rocket launcher and parts to a .50-caliber machine gun, were found in Laney's Ellicott City home in July by workers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, who came to change the locks during a foreclosure on the house.

Laney had remained in jail since then, until Thursday.

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