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Bondsman gets probation before judgment on weapons charge

September 22, 2010|By DON AINES
  • Gregory Lehman Toms
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A local bail bondsman indicted by a grand jury in June on weapons and drug offenses received probation before judgment Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court on a charge of transporting a firearm without a permit.

Gregory Lehman Toms, 54, of 19932 Lemuel Lane in Boonsboro, was placed on 18 months probation by Judge Donald E. Beachley, who ordered that the first four months be supervised, according to court records. Toms also was ordered to pay a $200 fine and $200 in court costs, according to court records.

Other charges in the case -- possession of explosive or incendiary devices, possession of more than 5 pounds of black powder, possession of a stolen firearm, theft of less than $1,000, possession of marijuana and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia -- were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, according to court documents.

Assistant State's Attorney Michele Hansen said after the plea hearing that she had consulted with the lead detective in the case well before Wednesday's plea and they had agreed a guilty plea to the transporting a firearm charge was an appropriate outcome for the case.

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The state deferred to the court on the sentence and did not recommend Beachley impose probation before judgment, Hansen said.

A person receiving probation before judgment will not have a criminal conviction on their record if they successfully complete probation, under Maryland law.

Toms' attorney, Gregory C. Bannon, had no comment on the outcome of the case, a woman at his law office said Wednesday.

While on the court docket for 9:30 a.m., Toms appeared before Beachley at 8:45 a.m. The earlier time for the plea hearing was determined by the judge, Hansen said.

In the weeks after Toms was indicted, two circuit court judges recused themselves from hearing the motions and another was unable to hear the motions arguments because he had signed the search warrant. In August, Beachley denied defense motions to dismiss some of the charges against Toms on Second Amendment grounds.

The motion to dismiss the firearms-related charges stated that Toms had a gun in his vehicle on his property.

Beachley heard arguments on defense motions to suppress some of the evidence gathered in the search of Toms' property. Bannon had argued that some of the items seized were beyond the scope of the search warrant.

During the August hearing, Washington County Sheriff's Office Detective Gregory Alton testified that investigators found dummy grenades, military smoke grenades, military flares and several cans of black powder. Those and other items were discovered during a search for suspected stolen weapons at Toms' property, Alton testified.

Beachley had not ruled on the motions to suppress prior to the plea hearing on Wednesday, Hansen said.

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