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Hagerstown teen sentenced in second-degree attempted murder case

July 19, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Dennis Marshall Jr.
Dennis Marshall Jr.

A Hagerstown teenager who pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree attempted murder in a 2011 shooting was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court to 20 years in state prison.

Dennis S. Marshall Jr., 17, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder charge and use of a handgun in a crime of violence midway through a July 3 jury trial. The charges were for the Oct. 17, 2011, shooting of Colin Wesley Williams of Hagerstown.

Williams was shot in the abdomen near Jonathan Street and Wellers Alley. The shooting was in apparent retaliation to the Oct. 6 stabbing of Malik Scott by Williams, according to trial testimony.

Williams had entered a guilty plea to second-degree assault in the Scott stabbing and testified for the state in Marshall’s trial.

After the shooting, Marshall remained at large until Dec. 23, when he was found by Hagerstown police hiding in an Avalon Avenue house.

Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. sentenced Marshall to 30 years for the attempted murder, suspending half the sentence. Marshall got 20 years on the handgun charge, with Long suspending 15 years.

However, the five years for the handgun conviction will be served first and without the possibility of parole, Long said.

At the time of Marshall’s July 3 plea agreement, Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher McCormack said the state was seeking a 50-year sentence with all but 20 years suspended.

“At 17 years old, he is still a child. He is not a fully developed adult,” defense attorney David Harbin told Long. He noted Marshall had no juvenile adjudications and asked the judge to consider a sentence in the range of 10 to 15 years.

“He strikes me as someone with potential,” Harbin said. “Warehousing Mr. Marshall for 20 years ... I’m not sure that does anybody any good.”

Although Marshall has no juvenile record, he had been charged as an adult with an armed robbery at Nadia Convenience Store in Hagerstown. Marshall was 16 at the time and his case later was transferred to juvenile court, where Long found there was not enough evidence to show Marshall was involved.

Long recalled that Thursday, although he said it was not a factor in sentencing.

“You said to me, ‘You’ll never see me again,’” Long told Marshall. While still a teenager, Long told Marshall, “you have committed an absolutely adult crime” in shooting Williams.

Harbin said after sentencing that he would file a motion for the court to consider modification of Marshall’s sentence at a later date.

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