Essex man sentenced to 5 years for bystander's fatal shooting

November 18, 2009|By Nick Madigan |

William M. Griffin, 22, of Essex, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for his role in a drug deal in January that resulted in the shooting death of a bystander.

Two weeks ago, another man accused in the case, Donald S. Kohler, 29, of Joppatowne, was sentenced to a 35-year prison term after being found guilty of second-degree murder and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

A third man, Warren J. Yates, 27, of Dundalk, is to be sentenced Dec. 7 on five counts, including second-degree murder and using a handgun in a violent crime.

A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury last month found Yates and Kohler responsible for the death of Shirley Worcester, 58, who was hit by a stray bullet Jan. 7 while standing in her driveway talking with relatives who had just returned from church.

Prosecutor John Cox said that Kohler was buying marijuana from Yates in a house a block from Worcester's in Middle River and had handed over what looked to be $4,400 in cash, but was in fact a roll of fake money with a $100 bill on the outside.

Kohler ran from Yates with a trash bag containing 4 pounds of marijuana and Yates gave chase, firing two shots as Kohler ran across Worcester's lawn, Cox said. One shot punctured Worcester's chest and killed her.

Cox said Griffin was implicated in the crime because he had been helping Yates sell the drugs. Griffin pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled dangerous substance.

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