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Accomplice in fatal Hagerstown shooting given life sentence

July 23, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- A New York City man was ordered on Tuesday to spend his life in prison for his part in two 2006 shootings, one of them fatal, in a Hagerstown apartment.

Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. sentenced Olusegun Hakeem Ogundipe, 28, to two life sentences, to run concurrently.

One life sentence was for first-degree murder for the death of Jackson Agustin Rodriguez. The other was for attempted first-degree murder for the shooting of Tony Perry, who lost an eye but survived.

Both men, who also were from New York City, were shot at a Washington Gardens apartment on July 23, 2006.

Authorities have accused Joshua Edwards, another New York City resident, of both shootings, but say Ogundipe was there, too, pointing a gun at another man and helping Edwards.

"Guns are just rife in this community ...," Long told Ogundipe. "People are dead because of guns."

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"Maybe you aren't the person who pulled the trigger," Long added, "but you might as well have been."

Edwards has been in custody in England since shortly after the murder, Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said after the sentencing hearing. Edwards, the subject of a sealed indictment, is appealing a decision to turn him over to the United States for prosecution and a possible death sentence, Michael said.

In addition, Long sentenced Ogundipe to 25 years, also concurrent, for a first-degree assault conviction, as well as other prison terms for lesser offenses. Michael, who sought consecutive life sentences, said the concurrent life sentences will run after Ogundipe finishes serving seven years in prison in New York.

Given a chance to speak in court, Ogundipe said he was convicted for a killing he didn't commit.

"I'm not guilty of any crime," Ogundipe said.

He turned around to face the gallery and said to Rodriguez's mother, "I can't really apologize to you."

Before he could finish his thought, she sobbed and yelled back at him, "Don't look at me. No, no, no," waving her arms and hiding her face. Court proceedings briefly were halted as a sheriff's deputy calmed her down.

A jury convicted Ogundipe in May of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and other charges.

One witness, Steven Ramel Broadhead, testified that Ogundipe pushed him into the kitchen of the apartment at gunpoint while Edwards shot his friends Rodriguez and Perry, The Herald-Mail reported at the time.

Broadhead also testified then that he, Rodriguez and Perry took $10,000 worth of cocaine from New York to sell in the Hagerstown area on the day of the shooting.

Jerry Joyce, one of two public defenders representing Ogundipe, argued that the shootings were the result of "a young man (Edwards) who had his space invaded."

Michael said the motive for the shooting was never determined.

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