Grand jury indicts man in fatal-shooting case

Suspect was in jail days before killing

March 28, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old Columbia man was indicted yesterday on murder charges related to a fatal shooting that occurred just days after he was released on bond in an armed robbery case.

A Howard County grand jury returned the 13-count indictment on charges including first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery against Tavon Donya Sands in the death of 23-year-old DeShawn Anthony Wallace Jan. 25.

Investigators say that Sands was one of three men who confronted Wallace, his 19-year-old brother and three others on a parking lot in the 5800 block of Stevens Forest Road and ordered them to the ground.

Wallace, a 1996 Oakland Mills High School graduate who was studying for a career in information technology, walked away instead of complying, Detective Keith Fisher testified last month. A man with a gun told him to "get down, get down, this isn't a game" and shot Wallace in the head, he said.

Although the gunman's face was covered below the eyes, witnesses picked Sands picture from a lineup of photographs, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing in the case. Sands has distinctive eyes - one witness called them "screwed-up green," Fisher, the lead investigator on the case, testified last month.

Police searched Sands' girlfriend's home and found two guns - a .38-caliber Charter Arms and a Ruger .44 Magnum, Fisher said. The bullet that killed Wallace likely came from a .38-caliber gun, Fisher testified.

No other suspects have been charged in the case.

Sands' arrest on murder charges three days after the shooting was the latest in a string of gun-related cases filed against him since his release from prison Jan. 5, 2001, after serving time for misdemeanor assault.

Four Howard County cases, in addition to the shooting death, are pending. One of the four, filed last week in Howard Circuit Court, is on a charge related to a drug and gun case filed in May.

In Baltimore County, Sands faces gun charges stemming from officers' attempts to arrest him in an October armed robbery.

In all, he was free on $115,000 bond at the time of the killing; he was most recently released from the Howard County Detention Center after posting a $50,000 bond in the armed robbery case and $5,000 in the Baltimore County case on Jan. 21, according to court and jail records.

Sands was also on probation for the assault conviction at the time of Wallace's death.

Sands has been held without bail in the county jail since his arrest on the murder charges.

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