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Hagerstown teen pleads guilty to attempted second-degree murder, firearms charge

July 02, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

After a morning of jury selection and testimony by state witnesses, a Hagerstown teenager came back to Washington County Circuit Court in the afternoon and pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder in the 2011 shooting of a Hagerstown man.

Dennis S. Marshall Jr., 17, of Hagerstown, also pleaded guilty to using a firearm in a crime of violence.

Sentencing was deferred, but Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher McCormack said the state is seeking 50 years with all but 20 years suspended.

Judge W. Kennedy Boone III told Marshall, who had been charged as an adult in the Oct. 17, 2011, shooting of Colin Wesley Williams, that charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and lesser weapons charges will be dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Williams identified Marshall as the person who shot him, but another state witness refused to testify, even after Washington County Circuit Court Judge W. Kennedy Boone III explained to her she had no right to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

Williams, 19, of Hagerstown, was shot in the abdomen as he and former girlfriend Fantaisa Rivera walked down Jonathan Street near the Office of the Public Defender. Marshall remained at large until he was found hiding in a house in Hagerstown in December.

A day after he was shot, Williams was charged with first-degree attempted murder for stabbing Malik Scott in downtown Hagerstown on Oct. 6, 2011.

Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree assault earlier this year on the condition he testify truthfully in Marshall’s case. He is scheduled to receive a time-served sentence in the Scott stabbing when he appears Tuesday in circuit court.

“I was walking down the street ... with my former girlfriend Fantaisa Rivera,” Williams testified. Rivera saw Marshall coming toward them and warned him, he testified.

“You know what time it is?” Williams testified that Marshall said. The two argued and he tried to walk around Marshall, who shot him, Williams testified.

“Correct,” Williams testified when McCormack asked if Scott’s stabbing happened before Williams was shot. He also answered “correct” when asked if Marshall and Scott were friends.

On cross-examination by defense attorney David Harbin, Williams testified he did not want to cooperate with police in the case against Marshall and only agreed to testify in March. He also testified the plea agreement was for a period of time served since his arrest for the Scott stabbing.

“I plead the Fifth,” Rivera said to every question posed by McCormack. Boone told her she was not entitled to invoke the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination because she faced no criminal charges in the shooting.

Rivera, who is on probation for a conviction in a 2011 robbery, told Boone she was not required to testify against Marshall as part of her plea agreement in the robbery.

Lauren Burke, formerly a detective with the Hagerstown Police Department, testified Rivera gave a taped statement to police on Oct. 17 that she knew Marshall and he was “responsible for shooting her boyfriend.” Rivera also picked Marshall from a photo array, she testified.

During the plea agreement, McCormack said he would have been able to produce a witness and video surveillance photos to show that Marshall hid the .357-magnum handgun in a private mailbox in an apartment building, though the gun was never recovered.

Had the case gone to the jury and Marshall was convicted of attempted first-degree murder, he could have faced life in prison.

“We’re not dealing with people who get awards from the Chamber of Commerce,” Boone told the jury before dismissing them.

In 2011, Marshall also was charged as an adult in an attempted armed robbery, but the case was later transferred to juvenile court and he was found not to be involved, according to court records.

Rivera also had been the girlfriend of a man now charged with and being sought for a June 24 murder on Guilford Avenue, Boone told the jury.

That man, Marcus Longus, was still at large Monday, Hagerstown police said.

In 2010, in another case involving Longus, Rivera was charged as an adult with hiding a stolen handgun in a playground after Longus’ brother, 2-year-old Mario Longus, apparently shot and paralyzed himself with the weapon. Her case was later moved to juvenile court and she was judged delinquent of obstructing police.

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