White Hall man guilty of threatening federal officer

October 25, 2011|AEGIS STAFF REPORT

A White Hall man pleaded guilty late last week to threatening to murder a federal law enforcement officer who was investigating a suspicious 2010 barn fire at a farm in northeastern Baltimore County near the Harford County line.

Craig Allen Shepperd, 37, of the 1000 block of Wiseburg Road, in White Hall, entered the guilty plea Oct. 21 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The plea agreement was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to Shepperd's plea agreement, the Baltimore County Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms identified Shepperd as a primary suspect in the arson of a horse barn that had burned down at 2808 Shepperd Road in Monkton Aug. 26, 2010.

On March 8, 2011, a Baltimore County detective and an ATF Task Force officer, identified in court documents as "M.S.," went to the Baltimore County Detention Center where Shepperd had been detained to be served a state indictment charging him with arson.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Shepperd became very agitated and stated that he was a marksman and a very good hunter. Shepperd stated that he would shoot the federal officer in the head.

Shepperd further stated that when he got out of jail, he would meet the federal officer at a restaurant and neither of them would come out alive, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Shepperd then held his hand up imitating a pistol, pointed directly at the officer and motioned as if pulling a trigger, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Shepperd also stated that he was going to create a scene and when the federal officer responded, Shepperd would be waiting in the woods to shoot the officer in the head, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The ATF officer identified himself as such and Shepperd stated that he already knew that. The officer had been appointed as a special deputy U.S. Marshal and task force officer with ATF since 2009.

Investigators also obtained recordings of conversations Shepperd had with an individual and his father in which Shepperd repeats and confirms his threats to murder the federal officer, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

As part of the plea agreement, Shepperd and the government have agreed that if the court accepts the plea agreement, Shepperd will be sentenced to eight years in prison. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles scheduled sentencing for Feb. 12, 2012.

Shepperd is in state custody on unrelated charges, the U.S. Attorney's office news release noted.

Maryland online court records indicate he pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree assault on March 14 in Baltimore County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison, with six years suspended and four years and six months to serve.

Court records also indicate the Baltimore County charges of second-degree arson and first-degree malicious burning from the 2010 barn fire were marked as nolle prosequi, or not prosecuted, effective Sept. 26.

In June 2006, Shepperd was charged in Harford County with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana. According to court records, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and marijuana possession in April 2007. The other charges were put on inactive docket or not prosecuted.

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