Woman held on charges she helped nephew flee

August 01, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A woman who worked behind bars for six years has been jailed herself, accused of helping her nephew flee a murder charge in Hagerstown in May.

Denise Darlene Coleman, a former state prison employee, is believed to have driven murder suspect Michael Dwayne Williams to Baltimore in May and may have helped him dispose of the murder weapon, said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Gina Cirincion.

Thursday, Coleman joined him at the Washington County Detention Center.

On Friday, Coleman saw her bond for accessory after the fact (murder) raised from $10,000 to $50,000 by Washington County District Court Judge Ralph France.

"She is expected to be evicted from her home within days," said Cirincion, making a case for higher bond. "This is a very serious charge and she could be a flight risk."


But Coleman, 42, of the 11200 block of Marbern Road, told France she is no flight risk, having worked for the Maryland Division of Correction for six years.

"I have an interview to get a job at the pre-release center," Coleman said. "I'm not going anywhere."

Her trial date was set for Aug. 25 on the charge, which carries a maximum five-year sentence.

Hagerstown City Police believe attention paid to a woman may have led to the May 19 fatal shooting of Desmar Bernard Artis, 18.

At 11:16 p.m. on May 19, Hagerstown City Police went to East Franklin Street for reports of shots fired, court records said.

The officers found nothing and left the area, court records said.

More than seven hours later, officers received a report of a man down in the first block of East Avenue, court records said.

They found Artis on the ground with one gunshot wound to the right shoulder. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives Carroll Braun and George Brandt found witnesses who said Artis was sitting near a pizza parlor shortly after 11 p.m. on May 19 when a woman walked by, court records said.

The woman asked Artis and others sitting with him for a cigarette and Artis began "grabbing at the female and the two exchanged words," court records said.

The woman left, but returned a short time later with a man who asked her "who did it" and she pointed to Artis, court records said.

That man grabbed Artis by the arm, pulled a gun, pointed it at Artis' head and fired, court records said. Artis broke free and ran and several more shots were fired, court records said.

Identifying Williams as a possible suspect, police got a photograph of him and showed it and five other pictures to a witness who was present when the shots were fired.

That witness and another person pointed out Williams, court records said.

Later located in Baltimore, he was charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, using a handgun in the commission of a felony and carrying a handgun, according to court records.

He remains in jail without bond.

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