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McDaniels found guilty of murder

March 02, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A Washington County Circuit Court jury found Demetrius "Meach" Pierre McDaniels guilty of first-degree felony murder Thursday in the July 2006 shooting death of 20-year-old Trisiviah Rodriguez.

McDaniels, whose last known address was 1052 D Noland Drive, could face life in prison without parole.

The jury of eight men and four women deliberated for about five hours over the course of Wednesday night and Thursday morning before reaching the verdict.

"At least he's not going to be able to put harm to anyone else's family forever," Talita Rodriguez, the stepmother of the victim, said after the verdict.

McDaniels, 28, also was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, attempted robbery, wearing and carrying a handgun, possession of a handgun after committing a disqualifying act, and using a handgun during the commission of a crime of violence.

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He was found not guilty of first-degree premeditated murder in the incident on East Franklin Street in the early morning hours of July 31, 2006.

McDaniels stood with his hands behind his back, wearing baggy jeans and a blue-and-white collared shirt, as the jury walked out to deliver the verdict. After the verdict was read, McDaniels briefly conferred with his defense team before guards led him out of the courtroom.

The prosecution presented two days of testimony before resting its case Wednesday afternoon. The defense presented four witnesses before closing arguments Wednesday evening.

Sitting through the testimony of a medical examiner was the hardest part of the trial, Talita Rodriguez said.

"They were so explicit about it," she said.

Raheen Tajohn Edwin pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder in Rodriguez's death in early February. As part of a plea bargain, Edwin, 31, testified Tuesday in McDaniels' trial.

"I really don't agree with the plea deal he made," Talita Rodriguez said. "I would rather see both of them sentenced without parole."

Edwin testified that he and McDaniels were walking along East Franklin Street when they "bumped into" two men and had a "minor confrontation" that led to "something bigger."

Edwin and McDaniels drew their guns, intending to rob the men, Edwin said. The men emptied their pockets, but nothing was taken from them, Edwin testified.

Edwin turned around and saw the taller of the two men bending down "like he was reaching for something," Edwin said. That's when shots - one of which struck and killed Rodriguez - were fired, he testified.

Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long ordered a presentencing investigation before McDaniels' sentencing date, which has not been set.

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