A Hagerstown man indicted in December in the 2008 homicide of a woman in her Mitchell Avenue home lived across the street from her at the time of the killing, prosecutors said Thursday.
"Forensic evidence puts him at the crime scene," Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said of Darrol C. Sands.
Cirincion would not reveal what the forensic evidence was, although court records indicate that the Public Defender's Office introduced a motion on Jan. 25 requesting records of a DNA analysis.
Sands, 43, of 457 W. Washington St., Apartment 5, was indicted on Dec. 1, 2010 in the death of 22-year-old Carol Marie Brown.
Brown, a single mother of two children, was found dead April 19, 2008, on the second floor of 457 Mitchell Ave.
At the time of her death, Sands was living across the street at 446 Mitchell Ave., Cirincion said.
"He was a person of interest, but eventually he became the No. 1 suspect," Cirincion said.
A motions hearing is set for April 27, and the trial for May 17-20, she said.
Sands was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter, Cirincion said.
Twice in 2010, the Hagerstown Police Department asked that information about Brown's death be published in the hope of obtaining leads in a case that had gone cold. Those stories were published in the Herald-Mail on April 16 and Aug. 6.
The manner of Brown's death was homicide, but police did not release details such as the cause of death when those stories were published.
Although indicted in December, Sands has been in custody since August 2010 on unrelated drug-distribution charges. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty in Circuit Court to two counts of distribution of crack cocaine.
Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. sentenced Sands to two concurrent sentences of 20 years, with 10 years suspended.
Sands was charged with helping procure cocaine for a Washington County Narcotics Task Force informant on six occasions between May 21 and Aug. 6, 2010, according to court records.
Other charges of distribution of cocaine, criminal conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed in exchange for the plea, court records said.
Sands was in District Court for a bond hearing in August, at which time he appealed for a reduction in bail, saying, "My wife and kids will be on the street."
No mention of the murder indictment was made during Sands' plea and sentencing Thursday.
Cirincion told Long that his criminal record included a distribution-of-marijuana conviction in Mississippi in the late 1990s and a 2009 violation of a protective order in Washington County.
Long asked Sands if he had ever been under the care of a psychiatrist or had a history of mental illness.
"Yes I have " Sands answered. When asked what condition he had, Sands replied, "paranoia schizophrenic."
Sands told Long he is originally from Mississippi and has a wife and children. He admitted to having a drug problem.
Deputy District Public Defender Eric Reed asked Long to impose a shorter sentence, citing Sands' relatively minor criminal record in recent years.