One of two charged in Smithsburg home invasion pleads guilty

November 18, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • McCormick

One of two men charged in an August home invasion robbery in Smithsburg pleaded guilty Thursday to armed robbery, first-degree assault and burglary in Washington County Circuit Court.

Victor McCormick, 20, of 12906 Bradbury Ave. in Smithsburg, entered the guilty pleas to the Aug. 14 robbery in an appearance before Judge Daniel P. Dwyer, who ordered a presentence investigation before sentencing at a later date.

McCormick's alleged accomplice, Jesse Cole Lombardi, 18, of 60 S. Main St. in Smithsburg, also was in court Thursday for a hearing to suppress state's evidence in the case against him.

Assistant Public Defender Brian Hutchison told Dwyer he wants to exclude from trial any observations police made while in Lombardi's home, any evidence seized and any statements Lombardi made to officers.

Lombardi's warrantless arrest was without probable cause, and police did not receive proper consent for a search of his home and room, Hutchison said.

Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson countered that Lombardi's mother owns the house where he lives and allowed police to come in and search.

One witness still was being questioned Thursday when Dwyer adjourned the hearing to a future date. The judge said there are 18 subpoenaed witnesses for the hearing, including several sheriff's deputies, state troopers and Smithsburg police officers who waited outside the courtroom to testify.

The first, Smithsburg Officer Matthew Hudson, testified about receiving a report of a home invasion robbery and going to the home of Annette Cooper of 48 W. Henrietta St., where he found the woman "terrified ... very hysterical."

The statement of probable cause said two masked men, armed with a shotgun and a knife, entered the house and demanded money and drugs and threatened to burn her son's eyes with cigarettes. Her son, Darren Malayeri, was able to escape and get to a neighbor's house, from where police were called, the document said.

Among the items believed to have been stolen was a large flat-screen television, Hudson testified.

Hudson testified that the description of the robbers led him and other officers to go to Lombardi's home about 100 feet away. Hudson testified he got Lombardi and McCormick to come outside, but did not enter the house until Lombardi's mother came home.

The initial search of the house turned up a military-style knife, a shoulder bag with Malayeri's driver's license inside and a 42-inch flat-screen television, which Hudson testified was covered with rain droplets.

A shotgun was found under a chest in Jesse Lombardi's home during a later search, Hudson testified.

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