Crime Watch


May 24, 2006

Computer seized in sex solicitation case

Agents from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit have seized the computer of a Finksburg man who was charged with soliciting sex from a 14-year-old girl and related sexual offenses that allegedly occurred on the playground of Westminster Elementary School.

The agency, which falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, could turn its investigation over to the U.S. attorney's office in the coming weeks, David P. Daggett, Carroll County's deputy state's attorney, said yesterday.

Daggett said federal agents would search the man's computer for child pornography and e-mails with the minor. The agency investigates computer sex crimes involving children.

Westminster police arrested William H. Ransley III, 58, of the 2100 block of Woodview Road on Sunday night, charging him with four counts of third-degree sex offense, one count of fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and sexual solicitation of a minor.

According to court documents, the girl's parents found her with Ransley, who was partially clothed and lying on the ground. The father detained Ransley until police arrived about 10 p.m. at the playground behind the school, documents stated.

The parents started searching for the 14-year-old after she failed to return home from a walk, according to the documents.

The girl began an Internet relationship with Ransley one month ago, documents stated. Ransley told investigators the victim asked to have sex with him, and he denied knowing her age, although the girl stated, "He knew I was not eighteen-years-old," according to the report.

The two exchanged pictures over the Internet, the report stated.

"In my experience, the facts of this case are about as ugly as it gets," said Daggett, referring to cases in which sex with children is solicited. "We just have to be thankful nobody was killed."

The girl's parents turned over the family computer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Daggett said.

Ransley remains at the Carroll County Detention Center on $250,000 bond, after a bail review hearing yesterday.

Laura McCandlish

Teen accused of having gun

A North Carroll High School senior less than a month from graduation has been charged with bringing a small automatic handgun to school. He was detained at the Carroll County Detention Center over the weekend and released Monday on $10,000 bond, according to court documents.

Michael J. Judd, 18, of the 4300 block of Downhill Trail in Hampstead was charged with possession of a deadly weapon on school property and possession of a firearm by someone under the age of 21, according to charging documents.

Judd showed a black handgun to a friend at school about May 10, the documents stated. The friend, a juvenile whose name was not released, later reported the incident to the Hampstead Police Department.

Judd has given a handgun to police, said Larry Faries, security coordinator for Carroll County public schools.

Laura McCandlish

Trainer stabbed at Pimlico

An assistant horse trainer at Pimlico Race Course was stabbed 12 times in the stomach yesterday in a predawn attack in a barn at the track, Baltimore police said.

Daniel Marchani, 34, was in serious condition last night at Sinai Hospital after undergoing surgery, authorities said. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Police said that two men dressed in black clothing, at least one of whom was armed with a knife, stabbed the man about 5 a.m. and then fled.

A police spokesman said Marchani was not robbed. They said detectives knew of no motive.

Mike Gathagan, vice president of communications for the Maryland Jockey Club, said the armed men might have scaled a fence to get in.

The stabbing occurred in Barn No. 6 - which is along the backstretch and abuts a fence near Pimlico Road and Belvedere Avenue.

"We have security at both sides of stable gates," Gathagan said. "It doesn't happen every day here. It's the first call about something like this I've received since I've been here."

Marchani is an independent contractor, Gathagan said.

The stabbing occurred three days after the 131st running of the Preakness Stakes in front of a record crowd of 118,402.

Brent Jones

Gunshot victim dumped at ER

A 19-year-old woman who had been shot in the head was left at the emergency room entrance at Sinai Hospital early yesterday by the occupants of a white 1993 Fleetwood Cadillac, which sped away, city police said.

The victim, Whitney Wiley, of no fixed address, was in critical condition, said homicide Detective Vernon Parker. "We have very little information to go on and are seeking the public's help in locating the car and its occupants," Parker said.

Anyone with information was urged to call Parker at 410-396-2100.

Also yesterday, police identified the young man found fatally shot in the basement of a Northeast Baltimore apartment building Monday as Donte D. Johnson, 18, of Edmondson Village.

Johnson, of the 3900 block of Cranston Ave., was found lying near a storage room at Maple Glen Apartments in the 6000 block of Amberwood Road about 10 a.m. Monday by an employee of the complex, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

No arrest had been made and police knew of no motive for the slaying, Moses said.

Richard Irwin

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