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Local prosecutor seeks state funds for prison cases

October 31, 2000

Local prosecutor seeks state funds for prison cases

By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


Anne Arundel County, Md., has received a $60,000 state grant to pay for prosecuting prison cases, and Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long said he is again going to ask when some dollars might be available for Washington County.

"I've got one case right now that is taking up a lot of one prosecutor's time," Long said. That case involves a 1999 death at the Maryland Correctional Training Center south of Hagerstown.

The death - first thought to be a suicide - developed into a robbery-murder and led to grand jury indictments against inmates Melvin Curtis Rust and Howard Berryman.

The victim, Lauren Noel, was found dead in his cell with a belt around his neck Jan. 2, 1999.

A three-day jury trial in the case is set for Nov. 20-22 in Washington County Circuit Court, and many hours have been spent preparing that prosecution, Long said.

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The Governor's Office on Crime Control and Prevention approved the grant to Anne Arundel County Monday. Maryland Public Safety Secretary Stuart Simms called the grant a one-time arrangement strictly for Anne Arundel County, according to published reports.

Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank Weathersbee said in August he would not prosecute any new felony cases coming from the state prison complex at Jessup until the state started helping to offset the cost.

Long said he tried unsuccessfully some years ago to get relief through the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

Washington County has three state prisons, and Long's office investigates cases of assault, concealed weapons, and, in recent years, a few murders.

"The governor's office seems to have money for some things," Long said. "I guess the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

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