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City man flees courthouse

December 05, 2000

City man flees courthouse



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Manhunt

Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Cpl. Douglas White, left, and Hagerstown City Police Officer David Peacher check a home on East Franklin Street in Hagerstown during a manhunt Tuesday afternoon.

photo: RIC DUGAN

staff photographer




Three local police agencies were conducting a manhunt Tuesday night for a Hagerstown man who assaulted a deputy and fled from the Washington County Courthouse.

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Deputy First Class Annette Sprecher was returning Kenon Malik Hollis to a holding cell on the courthouse's third floor at around 10 a.m. Tuesday when he broke away and a struggle ensued, said Lt. Robert Hafer, judicial commander at the courthouse for the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

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During the struggle Sprecher was punched, bitten, pepper sprayed and her head was beaten against the elevator floor, Hafer said.

Sprecher, 35, of Hagerstown, was treated at Washington County Hospital and released, Hafer said. Sprecher returned to the hospital in the afternoon after her ankle began swelling. She was still being treated in the emergency room Tuesday evening, according to Hafer and a hospital spokeswoman.

Hollis, 19, was last seen in the North Jonathan Street area around 10:45 a.m., Hafer said. Hollis was wearing gray sweat pants. His sweatshirt was removed by Sprecher during the struggle, he said.

Court records describe Hollis as a black male, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, with brown eyes and weighing 170 pounds. In his police mug shot, Hollis' black hair is in cornrows.

The address for Kenon Hollis is listed in court records as 757 Spruce St., Apt. 1.

Hollis was due in Washington County Circuit Court on Tuesday morning for a suppression hearing, according to the court docket.

When Hollis arrived at court, a Hagerstown City Police officer told the deputies they had a warrant for Hollis charging him with a Nov. 27 armed robbery, said Detective Wayne Shank.

The warrant listed the charges against Kenon Hollis as armed robbery, robbery, first degree assault, second-degree assault, theft over $500, use of a handgun in the commission of a crime and reckless endangerment.

His twin brother, John Hasson Hollis, is charged in a warrant with the same charges, police said.

Kenon Hollis was taken to a holding cell for Courtroom 1 on the third floor until his case was called, Hafer said.

While Sprecher was taking Hollis from the holding cell in a back hallway to the courtroom, Washington County Assistant States Attorney Joe Michael called another case, so Sprecher turned to take Hollis back to the holding cell, Hafer said.

Sprecher was putting Hollis into the holding cell when he ran, and made it past the elevator a second holding cell, around two corners and into the hallway before Sprecher caught up with him, Hafer said.

As she began taking him back to the holding cell, a struggle ensued, Hafer said.

Sprecher was thrown against the elevator doors and when the doors opened the struggle continued in the elevator as it descended to the first floor, Hafer said.

Sprecher was punched in the face, bitten on the fingers, pepper sprayed in the eyes with her own pepper spray and her head was banged against the elevator floor, Hafer said.

Hollis also was pepper sprayed, Hafer said.

Sprecher did not lose her loaded handgun in the struggle, Hafer said.

When the elevator arrived at the first floor, Hollis fled out a side door to the alley next to Hagerstown Trust, Hafer said.

Hafer said no one reported seeing Hollis flee the elevator, but several people told police they saw him and in which direction he fled.

Other police officers became aware of the escape after a metal detector operator at the front of the West Washington Street courthouse saw a bleeding Sprecher in the alley, Hafer said.

While Hagerstown City Police took Sprecher to the hospital other city police, deputies and Maryland State Police began searching the downtown for the suspect.

Sprecher has worked for the Sheriff's Department since 1995, Hafer said. After serving as a patrol officer she has spent the last two years with the judicial division.

Hafer said Sprecher tried to handcuff Hollis before the struggle ensued.

This is not the first time Hollis has resisted being handcuffed by police.

When three Hagerstown City Police bicycle officers tried to take Hollis into custody on July 21 in the first block of North Mulberry Street he tried to evade capture, court records state.

It took several minutes for the three officers to subdue Hollis and handcuff him, court records state.

Hafer said he was unaware Hollis had a past history of resisting arrest.

Typically, two officers are assigned to a courtroom. One stays in the courtroom while the other takes defendants in and out, he said.

When deputies are aware a defendant has a history of resisting arrest, a second deputy usually helps bring the defendant to and from the courtroom, Hafer said.

Hollis was charged with two counts of distributing fake crack cocaine in the July 21 incident, court records state. His scheduled appearance in Circuit Court on Tuesday morning was for the fake crack cocaine case.

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