Fatal shooting victim linked to hotel beating, shooting

He shot man in the face in December, was never charged

December 28, 2010|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

A year ago this month, police say, Raymond Woodland was partying in the downtown Sheraton hotel when he pulled out a TEC-9 semiautomatic firearm and shot a 19-year-old man in the face.

The victim's friends snatched the gun, put Woodland in a sleeper hold and beat him into critical condition, according to police. In the span of a few moments, Woodland had gone from suspect to victim.

While the men who allegedly beat him went to jail, Woodland went to the hospital, his prognosis grim. Police said he awaited a charge of attempted murder — if he recovered.

But when Woodland eventually was released from the hospital, he wasn't charged. And on Sunday morning in Southwest Baltimore, someone shot him several times in the body and head.

Officers found the 20-year-old on the sidewalk in the 2100 block of Boyd St. about 7:50 a.m. Sunday. He died less than two hours later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police know of no motive and don't have any suspects. Nor can they explain why Woodland — who was picked up on drug charges in November — was never charged in the hotel shooting.

"We're reviewing why," said Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman.

In a city waging war on what police call "bad guys with guns," Woodland was accused of firing an assault pistol in a downtown hotel. Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III railed against the "idiots and morons" involved in the situation and asked for help from everyone in the city to "remove this scourge."

Dominic Anderson, 23, and Abdullah Omar, 22, are scheduled to go on trial next month in the attack on Woodland. Woodland, meanwhile, picked up new drug charges in late November after being arrested with vials of cocaine, records show.

Here was the conundrum faced by police and prosecutors: It didn't seem at first that Woodland would pull through from his injuries. Anderson and Omar, in their estimation, had gone too far in trying to restrain Woodland. But with Woodland healed, his shooting case would take precedence, and Anderson and Omar were key witnesses.

Those were potential problems. Prosecutors say police never brought them a case against Woodland to review.

"It would seem the Police Department would make a special effort to continue to investigate to maximize the criminal charges in such a high-profile incident," said outgoing state's attorney's office spokeswoman Margaret T. Burns. "Now, what happened and why the Police Department did not bring a criminal case to us to review, that's a question for the police."

Defense attorney Warren Brown, who represents Anderson, said prosecutors knew about Woodland's release — because, Brown said, he told them.

He also said he spoke with prosecutors Sheryl Atkins and Lawrence Doan about the case on "multiple occasions," in which they discussed figuring out how to avoid a conflict of interest in prosecuting Woodland for gun charges while leaning on him as a witness in the cases against Anderson and Omar. He said no one ever asked his client whether he would be willing to testify against Woodland.

"The police had an airtight case against" Woodland, Brown contended. "This is just real sloppy."

It is not clearwhen Woodland was released from the hospital after his beating. A woman who answered the phone at his home declined an interview request.

But court records show that in late November he was charged with drug dealing and was out on $5,000 bond. According to court records, undercover officers observed him walk up to a vehicle and exchange items with the driver. Police placed both men under arrest, recovering four black-top vials containing suspected cocaine from Woodland's pocket.

Gary D'Addario, a retired Baltimore homicide commander, said police should have been monitoring Woodland's condition "with strict orders that when this guy's ready to be released, we're on the spot to take him into custody."

"The Police Department has to be on their toes and be one step ahead," he said. "Now somebody's gotta drop a dime and pass on some information to the detective so they can solve this killing."



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