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McDaniels gets life in prison for downtown murder

May 25, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A 28-year-old man could spend the rest of his life in prison for the July 2006 murder of a young mother who was shot in the head as she stood on East Franklin Street.

Demetrius P. McDaniels was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court to life in prison plus 50 years.

McDaniels stood quietly and said nothing as Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. read the sentence and recited McDaniels' post-trial rights.

McDaniels was convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes March 1 in the death of 21-year-old Trisiviah Rodriguez.

No one but McDaniels will ever know if Rodriguez's death was intentional or not, Long said before he imposed the sentence.

A number of bullets were fired in a residential area during an "unjustified shooting," the judge said. He took that into consideration when determining a sentence, Long said.

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He also considered McDaniels "dismal" criminal record in New York, which includes several drug convictions, Long said.

McDaniels "bounced back and forth between Maryland and New York state for the purpose of selling drugs," Long said.

McDaniels maintains his innocence, Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden said.

His client grew up in Harlem, N.Y., and witnessed a murder when he was 9 years old, Creeden said. McDaniels' brother was shot in New York about nine months ago, the defense attorney said.

Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler requested that Long impose a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. She called McDaniels a "cold-blooded killer" who showed no remorse.

Creeden opposed the life without parole measure, explaining that life without parole is usually imposed as an alternative to the death penalty.

McDaniels has no criminal record in Maryland and was not the only person shooting a gun on East Franklin Street at the time of Rodriguez's death, Creeden said.

McDaniels' co-defendant, Raheen Tajohn Edwin, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted first-degree murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime. As part of the plea agreement, Edwin agreed to testify against McDaniels.

In March, after he testified at McDaniels' trial, Edwin was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 15 years suspended for his role in Rodriguez's death.

Edwin and McDaniels were walking along East Franklin Street looking for someone during the early-morning hours of July 31, 2006, Edwin said during his testimony. Both men had guns, and both drew their guns after a minor confrontation with two other people, he testified. He and McDaniels intended to rob two men, Edwin testified. He started firing after he saw one of the men bending down "like he was reaching for something," Edwin testified.

McDaniels also fired his gun, Edwin testified.

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