City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

February 14, 2007

East Baltimore man convicted of murder in party death

A 35-year-old East Baltimore man was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a man last year during a party, city prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Ricardo Watson of the 1000 block of E. Hoffman St. shot Darren Green, 21, eight times at "point-blank range in the torso" March 25 last year in the 1200 block of Mapleleaf Court.

A city Circuit Court jury also convicted Watson of using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime.

Judge M. Brooke Murdock scheduled sentencing for April 17, prosecutors said, with Watson facing a maximum penalty of life in prison for first-degree murder and another 20 years in prison for the handgun offense.

Howard County: Columbia

Elderly woman critical after fire

An elderly resident of a Columbia assisted-living facility was reported in critical condition last night after a fire broke out in her apartment, a spokesman for Howard County Fire & Rescue Service said.

Reported at 7:10 p.m. in a second-floor efficiency at Sunrise Assisted Living in the 6500 block of Freetown Road, the fire, which remains under investigation, caused moderate damage to the apartment and was extinguished in about 10 minutes by firefighters from stations in Columbia, Scaggsville and Clarksville, said spokesman William Mould,.

The room was equipped with a smoke detector and a sprinkler system, both of which were activated. The victim - the only occupant of the apartment, and not a smoker - suffered burns over 70 percent of her body and was transferred from Howard County General Hospital to the burn unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Southeast Baltimore.

Richard Irwin

Baltimore: Circuit Court

Two men convicted in drug shooting

Two city men have been convicted by a Circuit Court jury of shooting and wounding another man over a drug debt in January 2006, prosecutors said yesterday.

Davon Jones, 19, of the 2400 block of Keyworth Ave. was convicted of attempted first-degree murder and using a handgun in a crime of violence. Derrick Gardner, 20, of the 4500 block of Garden Drive was convicted of attempted second-degree murder and handgun violations.

Circuit Judge David B. Mitchell scheduled sentencing for March 27; Jones could receive up to 30 years in prison and Gardner 20 years.

Prosecutors said the victim, Jerome Smith, was confronted by Gardner and Jones on Druid Park Drive and asked about $70 he owed their drug boss. Jones did not have the money, prosecutors said, and Gardner shot Smith in the back with a handgun. Prosecutors said Smith stumbled into nearby woods, and Jones took the gun from Gardner and shot the victim again.

Smith was treated at Sinai Hospital. He was arrested and later convicted of violating the terms of his probation, which required him to stay away from drugs. He is serving a two-year sentence, prosecutors said.

Tax help

Assistance offered low-income payers

Free income-tax preparation and electronic filing of returns are being offered to low-income taxpayers by the nonprofit Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Clinics at its downtown offices at 1 N. Charles St., Suite 222, will be offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through March 3.

The service is geared, but not limited, to those who qualify for the earned-income credit. Other free services include preparation and filing of back taxes and representation for resolving disputes with the IRS.

Appointments are required and can be scheduled by calling 410-547-6537 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or 9 a.m. to noon Fridays.

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