Man pleads guilty to being accessory to killing

November 03, 2007|By Justin Fenton

For the second time in 16 years, Gary Ellis Brown Jr. had been charged with first degree murder. And yesterday, for the second time, he eluded the charges by pleading guilty to being an accessory to a killing.

Brown, 37, told a judge yesterday that he was the driver in a drive-by shooting in an Annapolis low-income housing community Dec. 14 that left a Laurel man dead.

Police arrested Brown on his way to Baltimore, where he had planned to hide from authorities, and charged him with first-degree murder. Conviction on a first-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Assistant State's Attorney Anastasia Prigge declined to discuss whether Brown has identified the shooter. She said the case remains open.

Sheku Koroma, 23, was hit with a single shot from a rifle as he stood in the 900 block of Royal St. Koroma died days later of his injuries. After he was shot, prosecutors said, he said he had been "set up."

As an accessory to the crime, Brown agreed to a five-year sentence.

Brown, a Glen Burnie man who has been known by the nickname of "Peanut," pleaded guilty in 1992 to being an accessory to murder for his role in the killing of a drug dealer who was hunted down and fatally shot as he slept in his car behind an Eastport housing project. Prosecutors said Brown ate a hot dog on his way to the murder scene and that his gun jammed as two other men fired.

Circuit Judge Paul Harris said Koroma's killing, which was the city's then-record seventh of the year, showed the side of Annapolis that "any person passing through doesn't know about." This week the city registered its eighth killing.

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