Prosecutors get OK to proceed against two bounty hunters

Agents of bail bondsman charged after home raid

March 06, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Howard County prosecutors can proceed with charges against two Baltimore bounty hunters accused of holding five non-English-speaking people hostage in their own apartment late last year, District Judge Neil Edward Axel ruled after a routine probable-cause hearing yesterday.

Everett Ambush Chambers, 26, and Darnell Anthony Brown, 29, have been charged with 28 counts each that stem from a Dec. 19 incident in a Town & Country Boulevard apartment in Ellicott City.

Charges against them range from kidnapping to armed robbery to first-degree assault.

Howard County Detective Steve Lampe testified that the two men watched television, ordered the residents to make them food and drove to Catonsville with one of the female residents. The men stayed at the apartment from midnight until about 2:40 a.m., Lampe said.

Defense lawyer Kenneth S. Ward said he was not surprised that Axel did not drop the charges against his clients.

During the 45-minute hearing yesterday, Ward hinted at his defense strategy by questioning Lampe about the number of people who resided at the apartment in the 8700 block of Town & Country Blvd.

Ward has said the address matches that of bail jumpers who had been bonded by Prestige Bail Bonds, the company that employs Chambers and Brown as bounty hunters.

However, Axel ruled that Ward could not raise that issue during the hearing because it qualifies as an affirmative defense.

After the hearing, Ward said he has proof Chambers and Brown were at the right apartment. He said the two were searching for Doriz Mazariego and Victor Borjaslinares, who were bonded after theft charges in August.

Court documents show the address for both Mazariego and Borjaslinares matches the address from the Dec. 19 incident. Court records also show that both were bonded by Prestige Bail Bonds, in the 2300 block of Belair Road in Baltimore, and that both skipped a Sept. 12 court date.

Ward said Chambers and Brown made a visual identification of Mazariego, who Ward said is actually resident Maria Gonzales-Lara, and spotted mail in the apartment for Borjalinares. Ward said the bounty hunters stayed at the apartment Dec. 19 to await Borjalinares' return.

"These are two hard-working, blue-collar guys who were just doing their job," Ward said of Chambers and Brown after the hearing.

Howard prosecutors have said the men had the wrong apartment.

In court testimony, Lampe said he was "unable to verify who leased the apartment" in question and could not determine how many people lived there.

"The police did not conduct a full investigation," Ward said. "If they did, we wouldn't be here right now. They rushed to judgment."

Prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to seek an indictment against the men, which would move the case to Circuit Court.

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