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Judge refuses to accept man's guilty plea to robbery charge

December 16, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

One of two men accused of robbing the Maugans Avenue branch of the Hagerstown Trust Co. bank in July was in Washington County Circuit Court Thursday to enter a plea in connection with the crime.

But Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley refused to accept a guilty plea to a robbery charge from Cornell Maurice Georgie, of Baltimore, saying he couldn't accept a guilty plea from someone who maintains innocence.

Beachley had just gone over the basic elements of the robbery charge, which he told Georgie include taking and carrying away the property of another with some showing or threat of force.

"Actually, I did not do that," Georgie replied afterward.

He was there at the time of the crime, he said.

According to Maryland State Police, two men entered the bank branch on July 21, then one stayed in the lobby while the other handed a teller a bag with a note attached demanding money.

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After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the men left the bank in a Pontiac Grand Am, according to police.

Georgie was charged with three criminal counts in connection with the crime: robbery, second-degree assault and felony theft, Assistant State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum said.

A plea agreement reached between the prosecution and Georgie's attorney called for dismissing all but the robbery charge in return for a guilty plea, Lochbaum said.

Beachley said he was postponing the case to give Georgie time to confer with his attorney before proceeding with a plea.

A second man charged the robbery, Neal Patrick Wells Sr., of Hagerstown, also was scheduled to appear in Circuit Court Thursday.

Wells' attorney requested his case be continued to allow a "competency issue" to be resolved.

Beachley granted the request.

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