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Armed robber gets 45 years in prison

August 26, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

A man who carjacked a taxi at gunpoint in Halfway and then drove it to Williamsport to rob a bank was sentenced to 45 years in prison Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court.

David Shelton, 25, of Washington, D.C., will serve the sentence on top of a seven-year term he is serving at the Eastern Correctional Institution for cocaine distribution, violation of probation and two assaults on correctional officers there.

"I would like some kind of help ... some kind of program. I'd still like to do something with my life," Shelton said less than an hour after a jury of seven women and five men found him guilty of four counts of armed robbery, three counts of assault, two handgun violations, two counts of theft, three counts of reckless endangerment and one count of carjacking.

Judge Donald Beachley said Shelton terrorized three tellers at the Farmers and Merchants Bank branch at 16802 Virginia Ave. when he burst into the bank displaying a handgun.

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"And the cab driver had a pistol to the back of his neck, not knowing if he would live or die," Beachley said.

Shelton carjacked the Turner Taxi on Linwood Road in Halfway on Jan. 22, 1997, ordering the driver, his wife and two other women out of the vehicle at gunpoint.

Both Doug Sensenbaugh, the driver, and his wife, Crystal, identified Shelton in court Monday as the man who carjacked the cab.

In the only testimony offered by the defense during the two-day trial, neither the occupants of the cab nor the bank employees were able to identify Shelton from photos shown to them after the crimes.

Hours after the bank robbery, Maryland State Police found the cab at Duke Drive and Pickett Court in Williamsport. A red dye pack from the bank had exploded in the cab.

Testimony included that of Shelton's girlfriend, Karen Martin, and her sister, Dawn, both of whom said Shelton came to their parents' home at 10803 Donelson Drive that morning and asked to stay for a while without saying why.

A short time later, police came to the Martin home and the girls said they followed Shelton's instructions, telling the officers they hadn't seen a young black man in the neighborhood.

In court, Dawn Martin identified the clothing that Shelton was wearing when he arrived at her home - clothing that matched the description given Monday by bank employees.

Martin said she asked Shelton later what was going on.

"He said some people do things beyond their control," she said.

Just before noon Tuesday, Shelton told Beachley he wanted a new attorney and a postponement, saying he hadn't had time to prepare and that Frederick, Md., attorney Darah Kehnemuyi hadn't asked some of the questions he wanted asked.

But Beachley dismissed Shelton's claims, saying all lawyers are entitled to use strategies as they see fit during trials.

By the time of sentencing, Shelton said he was "not mad at anyone."

"If you think I should have 75 or 80 years, I'll have to be content with that," Shelton said.

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