Police arrest 'Wire' actress

Drugs found while serving a warrant, they say

August 22, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporter

Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, the actress who played a cold-blooded killer of the same name on the HBO series The Wire, was arrested on minor drug charges yesterday after police picked her up for refusing to cooperate as a witness in a murder trial, records show.

Members of the homicide unit forced entry into the 28-year-old's Northeast Baltimore home Wednesday morning to serve a "body attachment" warrant, which would allow authorities to detain her, if necessary, until the Sept. 16 murder trial of Steven James Lashley.

Once inside the home, police said, they found two cigars containing suspected marijuana in an upstairs bedroom, and "loose plant material" was recovered from the top of a kitchen cabinet. Pearson was charged with one count of drug possession yesterday and was being held at Central Booking.

Authorities said Pearson watched Lashley stab three men, killing one, after an argument that began outside New York Fried Chicken on The Block in the fall of 2005, and she is expected to be called as a witness during the trial.

According to court records, a warrant was issued July 1 after Pearson ignored prosecutors' phone calls, failed to appear for an April 21 trial date and "informed the prosecuting attorney that she wished to have no further personal contact with her about this case."

Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore state's attorney's office, said uncooperative witnesses in violent city cases are routinely arrested on warrants that allow them to be jailed until they testify. She declined to comment on Pearson's arrest specifically but said "picking somebody up on a body attachment is a step we take as a last resort."

Pearson's troubled past served as the basis for her recent memoir, Grace After Midnight. Born prematurely and addicted to crack, she fell in with some of East Baltimore's biggest drug runners before she hit her teens. She pleaded guilty in 1996 to second-degree murder for fatally shooting Okia "Kia" Toomer during a fight in Baltimore and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Upon her release, she found her way back into the world of drug dealing before being spotted in a nightclub and eventually cast on The Wire, the crime drama set in Baltimore.

She said that opportunity was the catalyst that helped turn her life around, and she has spoken about the difficulties of leaving her past behind, including during a recent appearance on Larry King Live that was broadcast from the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women, where she served time.

"I'm tired of crying. God gave me this blessing for a reason, and I want to see what it is," Pearson said during an appearance at the Stoop Storytelling series, a Baltimore event in which people tell stories about their lives. "Hopefully, I can give somebody else some hope, like The Wire gave me hope."

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.

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