The victim was not present, and the jury was deadlocked in its deliberations Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court when Raymond McGowen pleaded guilty to second-degree assault on a prison correctional officer — and went home.
McGowen, 24, of Baltimore, was charged with assaulting Correctional Officer Zachary Lynn of the Maryland Division of Correction on Oct. 25, 2009, at Roxbury Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown, according to the statement of charges.
He had been accused of grabbing Lynn's arm through a cell door food slot and hitting him repeatedly, the charging documents said.
Lynn — who had attended all previous court appearances in the case — was not in court Tuesday because of urgent personal business, Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson said afterward. However, another correctional officer who witnessed the incident testified for the prosecution, Wilson said.
In his closing arguments, Assistant Public Defender Charles Bailey said McGowen had been seeking medical attention for three days. In addition to the victim not being present, Bailey said there was no medical report of injuries to Lynn or any security video of the incident.
McGowen denied the assault when he testified, Bailey said after the case was resolved.
About 40 minutes into deliberations, the jury indicated to the judge that it was deadlocked, Wilson said. The prosecution and defense then came to an agreement, with McGowen pleading guilty.
Judge W. Kennedy Boone III gave McGowen a three-year suspended sentence with credit for 126 days of time served and three years of supervised probation and released him.
Bailey and Wilson both said that the state prison sentence McGowen had been serving expired, and he was released from prison before his original trial date in 2010.
However, McGowen failed to appear in court in November on the assault charge, and a bench warrant was issued, court records said. He was picked up on the warrant in January and had been held in the Washington County Detention Center since then awaiting trial.
After the plea, Boone asked the jurors for a show of hands as to how they were split on the verdict. The split was 7-5 in favor of acquittal.