Man charged in weekend killing in Columbia

May 21, 2008|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,Sun reporter

Howard County police arrested a 21-year-old man yesterday in the shooting death of a Columbia man over the weekend.

Ronald Derrick McConnell, who has no fixed address, was charged with first- and second-degree murder, assault and reckless endangerment, the police said. Investigators found McConnell's fingerprint on a piece of tape stuck to a shotgun found at the scene, police said.

McConnell was arrested as he was walking in front of a relative's home in the 9400 block of Merryrest Court in Columbia.

Early Saturday, Jason Batts, 23, of the 6200 block of Painted Yellow Gate was found fatally shot in the parking lot of Stevens Forest Apartments, police said.

Police said they believe the shooting stemmed from a dispute, but did not provide details.

Batts was the second homicide victim in the county this year and one of two people shot over the weekend in Oakland Mills, police said. In the other incident, Wayne Ronald Hamlin, 24, of the 5900 block of Harpers Farm Road was wounded in the shoulder in a shooting about 1 a.m. Sunday.

Police were scheduled to hold a community meeting last night at the Oakland Mills village community center to discuss the shootings with residents.

According to court records, McConnell is scheduled to stand trial next month on weapons charges, including possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. In 2005, he was convicted of second-degree assault and a handgun charge, court records show.

In 2006, McConnell was found guilty in Howard County of drug possession and concealing a deadly weapon, according to court records. McConnell's record also includes other charges involving violent crimes, including armed robbery, and animal cruelty.

Batts pleaded guilty in 2003 to carrying a handgun and drug possession in Montgomery County. He was convicted in Howard County in 2004 for marijuana possession and in 2005 for possessing drug paraphernalia.

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