Columbia man is found guilty of drug, gun-possession charges

Sands has been accused in recent string of crimes

October 04, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Tavon Donya Sands, a Columbia man accused in a string of crimes, including the high-profile death of a young computer student this year, was convicted yesterday of drug and gun charges stemming from the first of the cases filed against him.

A Howard County jury took about three hours yesterday to return guilty verdicts against Sands, 21, for cocaine possession and two separate handgun charges related to a traffic stop in May last year. That incident preceded his arrest in an attempted-murder case and was followed a few months later by arrests on charges of gun possession and armed robbery.

Sands, who was repeatedly released on bond, has been in jail since late January, when he was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old DeShawn Anthony Wallace during a botched robbery in Columbias Oakland Mills village, a crime highlighted by police officials who said it pointed to a failure of the justice system.

In an August interview critical of the Howard States Attorneys office, Howard Police Chief Wayne Livesay pointed to the delay in trying this weeks case and said that had that been prosecuted, [the murder] might have been avoided.

Court records show that Sands defense lawyer at the time of the Jan. 25 homicide had asked the court in December to postpone the May 2001 drug and gun case because, she wrote, she was attempting to work this case out with other cases charged against her client.

Yesterdays conviction is Sands second in five crimes he has been accused of committing in the county during an eight- month period while he was on probation.

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