Crime Watch

May 07, 2008

2 charged with identity theft

A federal grand jury indicted two Baltimore men and a city woman yesterday on charges of stealing mail and using the victims' Social Security numbers and other identification information to cash checks, prosecutors said.

Joseph Lawrence, 43, Maurice Racks, 53 and Tara Wagner, 37, are accused of assuming the identities of at least 31 people from April through October of last year and face charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The indictment alleges that the defendants created false identification documents in the names of the victims by combining their own personal information with the victims' information. The defendants then used the false identification documents to cash checks, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say some of the victims lived on Dudley Avenue in Baltimore and on Foxcreek Court in Owings Mills. Lawrence and Wagner could face a maximum of 25 years in prison; Racks could face a maximum of 10 years.

Brent Jones

Use of confession opposed

The attorney for a man accused of stabbing another man in a Howard County apartment before being injured trying to escape, argued yesterday that a confession the man allegedly made to a paramedic on the ride to a hospital should be thrown out.

Kazeem Akinyoade Akinniyi, 25, of Baltimore is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, burglary and several other offenses in the December incident in Columbia.

Police said Akinniyi broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend about 5 a.m. Dec. 23 and stabbed her new boyfriend multiple times. Akinniyi jumped out the third-floor window and broke both legs, police said.

Officer Eric Ward testified in a motion hearing yesterday in Howard County Circuit Court that he was ordered to ride in the ambulance taking Akinniyi to the hospital but not to ask questions. He said he was directed to take notes if Akinniyi said anything.

Akinniyi's attorney, Janette DeBoissiere, argued that his confession to stabbing Jefferson Bolden should not be admissible because police did not read Akinniyi his Miranda rights. She said some of the questions the paramedic asked were not medical in nature and that his responses therefore may not be used.

Prosecutors argued that the paramedic was not a law enforcement officer or working on behalf of the police.

Tyeesha Dixon

Man, 73, dead after beating

Police are continuing to investigate a savage attack that led to the death of a 73-year-old man.

Ellsworth Monroe of the 5400 block of Clover Road was beaten by a group of six or seven men about 11:20 p.m. April 25, said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman. He died of his injuries Friday.

Police interviewed witnesses who said that Monroe was in the 3900 block of W. Belvedere Ave. when he was approached by the men, one of whom struck Monroe on the head, causing him to fall to the ground. He was then punched and kicked by all members of the group, Harris said. Police believe that Monroe also was robbed. The group then fled west on Belvedere Avenue, Harris said.

Monroe was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he died.

As of yesterday, there had been 66 homicides in the city this year, down from 97 by the same time last year.

Annie Linskey

2 acquitted in brawl that paralyzed man

Two Edgewood sisters who were accused of participating in a brawl that left a man paralyzed have been acquitted of all charges, including attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Harford County Circuit Judge Thomas Marshall dismissed 14 of the 18 charges against Tommyrre Ellysse Reid, 16, and Layelle Shalae Reid, 15, on Friday after finding there was insufficient evidence.

Later that day, a jury found the Reids, who were being tried as adults, not guilty on the remaining charges, which included three counts of second-degree assault and one count of disorderly conduct.

The Reids were accused of taking part in a Nov. 25 incident in which a crowd gathered at Gregory Simmons' home in the 1900 block of Eloise Lane. The incident erupted over a woman's relationship with a male neighbor and turned violent, with assailants using aluminum baseball bats and knives, according to police. Three people were sent to the hospital, including Simmons, who was stabbed twice and beaten.

"There was an abundance of evidence that girls had nothing to do with any stabbings or bats involved," said defense attorney David Henninger.

During the trial, Henninger said the Reid sisters were at the scene, but "it was clear they had nothing to do with the serious assaults."

Five other suspects, including the sisters' mother, Celestine Huff, have been charged in connection with the brawl.

"We're evaluating the charges on the remaining suspects," Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said yesterday.

Madison Park

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