December: Guilty plea in 2010 Bel Air murder

teacher bonus bungled

  • Fire engulfs a home and camper in the 2400 block of Bluefield Circle in Joppa in mid-December. Damage to the home and 13 vehicles was estimated at $1.3 million.
Fire engulfs a home and camper in the 2400 block of Bluefield… (Photo courtesy Harford…)
December 30, 2011

A 21-year-old Parkville man received a 25-year sentence for the July 18, 2010 shooting death of Derrick Maxey Jr. in the parking lot of the American Legion Post on Bond Street in Bel Air.

Rakim Raid Muhammad pleaded guilty to second degree murder and use of a handgun in a violent crime in the death of Maxey who was shot in the back of the head. The guilty plea and sentencing were the result of a plea bargain, as Circuit Court Judge Emory Plitt commented Muhammed was "looking to do a life sentence on the installment plan." Plitt also acknowledged the sentence could have been much harsher. "He's getting a break today," the judge said. "I'll be the first to say that."

Though the victim's father, the mother of his two daughters and other family members spoke at the sentencing, Muhammad declined the opportunity to speak. Prosecutors never said conclusively what the motive for the shooting was, but police who investigated the case said it might have been in retaliation for a 2007 street fight in Edgewood.

Public interest appeared to be scant in the final draft of the 2012 Harford County Master Plan, which was developed over the summer. Just 13 comments were posted on the county website during the latest comment period, as the plan was due to head to the county council after the first of the year. Most of the changes in the plan will affect the Fallston area and the area north and west of Havre de Grace, the latter where more development would be encouraged by the new plan.

As the county government moved to ban the use of tobacco products on all its properties, including outdoor parks and recreation fields, a few people testified against the proposed ban at a public hearing, saying that smokers have rights, too. As the year drew to a close, however, the ban was on track to take effect Jan. 1.

Flags flew at half-staff across the county, as Harford County residents and many veterans remembered the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the naval installations at Pear Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, the day of infamy that brought the United States into World War II.

Members of the county council grilled representatives of County Executive David Craig about his plan to give one-time $1,250 bonuses to all county government, sheriff's, library and school employees, part of a $32 million surplus from the 2010-11 budget. Council members said they were concerned at the size of the surplus, as some questioned why some of the money wouldn't be returned to taxpayers. Also spreading some doubt over the bonus was the refusal so far of two school unions, including the one representing teachers, to agree to accept the bonus without negotiating first with school officials.

A 21-year-old Edgewood man was found shot to death in a car in the Courts of Harford Square community on Dec. 8. Police said the death of Christopher Curtis Alves was being investigated as a homicide. The following day, three men, all with ties to the World's Most Dangerous street gang, were arrested by police, and two were charged with the Alves murder: Joseph Andrew Nelson, 20, of Fallston, and Coty Lamonte Wilson, 21, of Fallston. The third man was charged with handgun violations.

In Aberdeen, city police arrested a 62-year-old fugitive who was wanted in connection with a series of scams where police said he had allegedly received money to bring Baltimore Ravens players to school assemblies and other programs but had failed to deliver them. Joseph Myron Gill was arrested without incident at an Aberdeen motel where he had been staying. He was wanted in Queen's Anne County and in a number of Virginia counties.

Fire destroyed a home in the 2400 block of Bluefield Circle in Joppa on the evening of Dec. 12. Damage to the structure and contents, which included numerous vehicles including motorcycles, vintage automobiles and race cars, was estimated at $1.3 million. Five fire companies from Harford County and two from Baltimore County battled the blaze.

Jose Antonelli, a 79-year-old Havre de Grace resident, cashed a second tier Powerball lottery ticket worth $1 million. The lucky winner posed with his wife and daughter with a symbolic big check from the Maryland Lottery.

The Christmas season was in full swing in Harford County, with most homes sporting all sorts of colorful outdoor decorations and stores and local Christmas tree farms and stands doing a brisk business. On the evening of Dec. 12, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed visited Point Breeze Credit Union in Bel Air for a benefit to aid Toys for Tots.

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