Man gets 10 years in November slaying

September 01, 1998

Terrell JonesBy MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer [enlarge]

Prosecutors on Monday reluctantly offered a 10-year prison sentence to a Baltimore man who admitted firing the shot that killed a Florida man last November during a drug dispute.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III was equally reluctant when he agreed to impose that sentence on Terrell Earl Jones, suspending an additional 20 years in exchange for his Monday guilty plea to a second-degree murder charge.

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Acknowledging waffling witnesses who feared for their safety, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion told Wright that the word on the street was that a New York contingent was in town for the scheduled Sept. 1-3 trial to see who testified against Jones.


"Some of the witnesses were children and we were concerned that their parents would advise them not to remember for safety reasons," Cirincion said.

Jones, 24, a convicted drug dealer, admitted shooting Christopher Dwaine Young, 23, of Fort Pierce, Fla., on Nov. 23, 1997, in the 200 block of North Jonathan Street.

According to police, Officer Tammy Miller was driving north on Jonathan Street that Sunday at 11:13 a.m. when she heard a gunshot. When she reached the corner of Jonathan Street and Murph Avenue, she saw Young lying in the street.

Young, who had been shot once in the head, was pronounced dead at the scene. The gun later was found under the U.S. 11 bridge in Williamsport.

Cirincion said the motive was either a dispute over drug money or a quarrel over drug territory.

Except for answering Wright's questions with a yes or a no, Jones remained silent Monday afternoon.

He showed no emotion when the victim's sister, Cotina Best, stood and tearfully spoke of her brother and what his death has meant to her, to their mother and to his young children.

"When his children grow up, they will have no father because of you," Best said. "Christopher's son looks just like his daddy and his daughter just wants to know when her father will come back from the sky."

Young's mother, aunt and brother flew to Hagerstown for the hearing.

In addition to the 10-year sentence, Wright imposed a six-year concurrent sentence for violation of probation on a drug distribution conviction from September 1997.

Probation of five years carried a requirement of good behavior and a promise not to return to Washington County.

In exchange for Monday's plea, charges of first-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and use of a handgun in a crime of violence were dismissed.

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