Man who killed thief given five-year term

Victim was taking wheels from shooter's car

December 18, 2007|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,Sun reporter

A Baltimore man who interrupted a thief trying to steal the wheels off his Mercedes and then shot and killed him was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison with half of it suspended after having pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Kaye A. Allison also sentenced Charles E. Brockington Jr. to a concurrent five years without parole for a handgun violation. Brockington, 48, is a convicted felon and prohibited from carrying a gun.

Assistant State's Attorney Mark P. Cohen, head of the homicide unit, said Brockington heard noises outside his home on Wabash Avenue in Northwest Baltimore's East Arlington neighborhood as he was getting ready for work in June.

He came outside wearing only his underwear and holding a semiautomatic handgun, Cohen said. He confronted Joseph Milton Johnson Jr., 29, who had raised the 2006 Mercedes sedan up on cinder blocks, and ordered him at gunpoint to return the wheels.

Johnson agreed, but as he went to retrieve three wheels from his 2000 Chrysler Concord, he tried to distract Brockington and make a run for it, according to court records. Brockington then shot Johnson once, killing him.

The victim's relatives told police that Brockington had purchased the wheels from Johnson, of Gwynn Oak in Baltimore County, but still owed him money, which sparked the confrontation.

Cohen, however, said investigators found a store receipt for the purchase of the wheels, which showed that Brockington had paid about $1,500 for them.

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