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Hagerstown man gets 20 years in city shooting case

January 22, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A summer night, a standoff between two groups over the use of a cell phone, a call for one of the men to get a gun.

That was the picture painted for a Washington County Circuit judge Wednesday before he sentenced a 19-year-old man to prison for a June 24, 2003, shooting in Hagerstown.

Judge Frederick C. Wright sentenced Marcus Jarod Chestnut to 20 years in state prison for the shooting on the 100 block of Franklin Street.

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Melissa Emilcar was wounded in the leg and Kelvin Baker was wounded in the arm and back in the shooting

Chestnut, whose last known address was 129 E. Franklin St., pleaded guilty to one count each of attempted second-degree murder, second-degree assault and use of a handgun in the commission of a violent crime. In exchange for his plea, the state dropped three counts of attempted first-degree murder and other charges.

Wright sentenced Chestnut to 30 years for attempted second-degree murder, but suspended 15 years which would be reimposed should Chestnut violate probation during a five-year period after his release from prison.

Wright ordered Chestnut to serve a consecutive five-year sentence for using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime and a 15-year concurrent sentence on the second-degree assault charge.

Wright said Chestnut probably would be eligible for parole after eight years.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Brett Wilson told Wright that earlier on the day of the shooting a cell phone belonging to one of Chestnut's friends, known as "Q," was used by a woman to call Baker. Wilson said when the phone got back to "Q," Baker called and the two men argued over the phone, each trying to figure out who the other man was. They agreed to meet on Franklin Street that night, Wilson said.

"There is an air of credibility to this, as incredible as it seems," he said.

That night, at about 9:30, Baker, Emilcar and another man were standing near the north side of Franklin Street when they were approached by three men, Wilson said. After a brief argument, Baker rushed toward "Q" with his fists and Chestnut pulled a gun.

Wilson said a witness overheard "Q" say to Chestnut before the shooting, "Go get my slammy." Slammy, he said, is a slang term for a gun.

Chestnut told Wright he thought Baker, whom he admitted shooting, was planning to fire shots himself because his hands were near his waist.

"At the time that this was happening I knew it wasn't the right thing to do," he said.

Chestnut apologized for the shootings, saying that he has a child he would like to be with as soon as possible.

Wright said he doesn't sentence people based on their "heart," but on their actions.

"You lie down with dogs you're going to get fleas," he said.

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