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Shotgun, knife and wet TV to be admitted in home-invasion trial of Smithsburg man

Jesse Cole Lombardi is scheduled for trial Feb. 22

February 09, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Lombardi
Lombardi

After more than two days of testimony in an evidence-suppression hearing, a Washington County Circuit Court Judge ruled Thursday that a shotgun, knife and a wet television will be admitted in the trial of a Smithsburg man charged with a home-invasion armed robbery last year.    

Jesse Cole Lombardi, 19, of 60 S. Main St., Smithsburg is scheduled for trial Feb. 22 on allegations that he and another man, Victor McCormick, 20, of Smithsburg, went to the West Henrietta Street home of Annette Cooper and her son on the night of Aug. 14, 2011, and robbed them while armed with a shotgun and knife.

McCormick, 20, of Smithsburg, who pleaded guilty in November to armed robbery, first-degree assault and burglary, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23, according to court records.

During 2 1/2 days of testimony over a period of weeks, Assistant Public Defender Brian Hutchison argued that police did not have a search warrant for Lombardi’s house; he had not been read his Miranda rights preventing self-incrimination; and, after telling investigators he wanted an attorney, police continued to question him.

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On Thursday Judge Daniel P. Dwyer ruled that statements from the victims — including a description of the suspects as “one tall, one short, apparently white males trying to talk black” — gave police a reasonable suspicion to seek out Lombardi, who lived around the corner, and McCormick.

Both were found at Lombardi’s home and were detained outside, Dwyer said. When Lombardi’s mother arrived a short time later, police asked her for permission to search the house for other suspects, Dwyer said.

“She stormed into the house with the police following,” Dwyer said.

Lombardi’s mother did not deny police access or tell them to leave, and that constituted “implicit consent” to search for suspects, Dwyer said.

There was evidence a television was stolen from Cooper’s home, and it was raining that night, Dwyer said. While police were searching Lombardi’s home they found a wet television, wet clothes and a knife, he said.

Dwyer did not allow contents of a backpack containing some belongings from the Cooper’s home to be admitted as evidence, because searching inside the pack went beyond looking for suspects, he said.

But the judge ruled that he believed Lombardi had been properly advised of his rights when he was arrested, and that he “knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently” decided to talk further with police.

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