Montgomery Co. man pleads guilty to role in 2000 killing

Accessory after fact plea entered in shooting

January 29, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A Montgomery County man pleaded guilty yesterday to being an accessory after the fact to murder in the January 2000 shooting of a Maryland City man.

David Boccabella, 20, of Gaithersburg had been charged with first-degree murder, but that charge was dropped because evidence wasn't sufficient to convict him of being directly involved in the shooting of Ahmad Jumal Tutwiler, 27, said Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County prosecutor's office.

Boccabella could receive a maximum of five years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for April 4 in county Circuit Court. Prosecutors did not agree to seek a specific sentence under the terms of his plea agreement, Riggin said.

Boccabella was accidentally released from the county detention center in July after correctional officers misread a court order to release another inmate from the lockup on Jennifer Road and released Boccabella instead. Boccabella, who was being held without bail on the murder charge, returned to the jail three days later and was not charged in connection with his accidental release.

Police said Boccabella was in Tutwiler's apartment with a gun drawn the night Tutwiler was fatally shot. Boccabella was charged with murder in March 2000, along with four other suspects.

Murder charges against two women were dropped when they agreed to testify for prosecutors. The murder charge against Paul Michael Beisler, Tutwiler's roommate, was dropped last month as part of a plea agreement.

As part of the agreement, Beisler, 34, entered an Alford plea, in which he did not admit guilt but acknowledged enough evidence existed to convict him of conspiring to commit felony theft. Prosecutors agreed to seek a prison term of no more than 3 1/2 years at his sentencing Feb. 13.

Police are seeking the suspected gunman, Kenneth Diggs Jr., a friend of Boccabella. Diggs is charged in a warrant with first-degree murder, Riggin said.

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