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Man sentenced in drive-by shooting case

April 01, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

Donnie "Buggsy" Caldwell was sentenced to four years in prison Monday for his role in a drive-by shooting in Hagerstown last summer.

Caldwell, 18, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, and in exchange, other charges against him were dropped. He was given credit for time he already has served in prison.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Duane Gigeous said he agreed to drop more serious charges because Caldwell was not in the vehicle from which the shots were fired.

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"He didn't shoot a weapon," he said. "I can't prove he possessed a weapon."

The shooting occurred just after 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 15 as police officers Christopher Kayser and Jeffrey Shifler were on routine patrol in the 400 block of North Potomac Street.

The officers were behind a car traveling south when it pulled to the west side of North Potomac Street, and Kayser saw a handgun being pointed from the passenger side of the car, police said.

Kayser heard about six shots fired and saw the muzzle flash from the weapon, police said.

The car continued south on Potomac Street before stopping briefly at West Franklin Street, where two men got out of the back seat and fled on foot.

When police attempted to stop the car, it continued on West Franklin Street before striking a curb at the corner of West Franklin and High streets.

Michael Wayne Bernhisel Jr. and Mark Wayne Moore have been sentenced in connection with the shooting.

Caldwell was in a car traveling behind the first car. His attorney, Lewis Metzner, said his client acknowledged agreeing to go after a man, but said it was at the suggestion of Moore. Metzner said that Caldwell was not present when the gun was purchased.

Metzner argued for leniency and pleaded against the maximum of five years allowed under the plea bargain. But Washington County Circuit Court Judge Darrow Glaser distinguished Caldwell's actions from a spontaneous outburst.

"This was a deliberate, calculated plan and the court feels anything less than four years would not be appropriate," he said.

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