Harford man pleads guilty to theft, witness tampering

September 15, 2011|AEGIS STAFF REPORT

A northern Harford County man pleaded guilty late last week to witness tampering and other charges related to thefts of copper from a home and wire from a construction site.

Harford County State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly announced the Sept. 9 guilty plea of Aubrey Gerald Pritt, 39, of Street, who was charged with trying to influence a state's witness and related burglary and theft charges. Pritt received prison terms totaling more than a dozen years for the three convictions.

According to a news release from Cassilly, Pritt was charged with burglary for entering a vacant home in Darlington and removing the copper piping and wiring.

Pritt was also charged with theft for stealing 1,160 feet of 50-strand Verizon telephone wire from a construction site in Forest Hill.

The evidence showed that Pritt exchanged the copper for cash at a local recycling center. The crimes were committed from late 2009 to early 2010.

According to Cassilly, on Aug. 3, while awaiting trial on those charges, Pritt was overheard during a jail visitation soliciting the help of Jonathan Martin Yanney, 19, also of Street.

Cassilly's news release says Pritt told Yanney someone "needs to talk to [the state's witness] and tell him to forget what he knows. All [the witness] has to say is that it's been too long and he can't remember. Anything, I don't care, as long as I get out." Yanney agreed to carry the message to the witness, according to the news release.

The witness, who was not identified by the prosecutor "in the interest of public safety," reported to police that approximately four days after Aug. 3, Yanney approached the witness and told him that "Gerald [Pritt's nickname] wants you to forget what you know."

A grand jury for Harford County subsequently returned indictments charging Pritt and Yanney with trying to influence the witness and related obstruction of Justice charges.

Pritt, a prior convicted felon according to Cassilly, was sentenced in Harford County Circuit Court.

For burglary second degree in Darlington, Pritt was sentenced to six years in the Maryland Division of Correction – four more years were suspended – and will be placed on five years of supervised probation upon his release. He was sentenced to serve 18 months for theft under $1,000 in the Forest Hill burglary and sentenced to five years in prison for trying to influence a witness.

Online case records show Yanney has been charged with two counts of intimidating/influencing a juror, two counts of conspiracy to intimidate/influence a juror, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

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