Man, 26, pleads guilty to shooting at police

Public housing incident led to 4-hour standoff

February 06, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A mentally ill Annapolis man admitted yesterday to shooting at police in an incident last summer that led to a four-hour standoff at a city public housing project.

Demarrow Antjuan Williams, 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony assault and one weapons charge stemming from the July 30 incident. In exchange, other charges in that and three more cases will be dropped.

Williams beamed at relatives who attended the brief hearing before Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck. Some smiled and some cried as they saw him.

Assistant State's Attorney Daniel Andrews said he will seek 12 years in prison with an additional eight suspended when Williams is sentenced in April. That, he said, is based on Williams' run-ins with police and his criminal record over more than a decade. Williams is on probation for property destruction. State guidelines call for a prison sentence of 12 to 20 years, Andrews said.

Williams told the judge that he receives psychiatric care and takes several prescription drugs a day.

Court records indicate that he has received psychiatric care from four treatment centers since 1998, has received diagnoses of schizophrenia and an antisocial personality disorder, and has used marijuana, PCP and alcohol.

Defense lawyer Gill Cochran said he hopes Williams is placed in Patuxent Institution, the state's only prison geared toward treatment of mental health problems. He said he will ask the judge to recommend that officials evaluate Williams for a program there.

"Demarrow, when he is medicated, he is fine. Demarrow's an old client of mine. He's sick," Cochran said as he flipped through a thick folder containing files of Williams' cases.

Prosecutors agreed that Williams has mental health problems, but Andrews noted that a recent evaluation found Williams was fit to stand trial.

Andrews said Williams waved at Annapolis police Detective Erika Bristow and federal Drug Enforcement Agent Tommy Cindric as they sat in a car off Betsy Court in the Newtowne 20 public housing complex. After they waved Williams off, he went into an apartment, emerged with a gun and fired an estimated five shots at the unmarked car.

None of the shots struck the officers, who quickly left. Andrews went into an acquaintance's apartment. Annapolis police arrived and kept residents from entering their homes until they reached Williams by telephone and he walked out of the apartment. Andrews said Williams might have felt disrespected by the officers.

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