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Judge rules sufficient probable cause to maintain charges against New York man

Washington County District Court Judge Mark Thomas was asked to drop armed robbery, robbery, assault and felony theft charges against Kristopher Lawrence

August 15, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Kristopher Shawn Lawrence
Hagerstown Police Department

A Washington County District Court judge on Wednesday ruled that there was sufficient probable cause to maintain charges against a New York man who briefly escaped from Hagerstown police while he was being held last month on an armed robbery charge.

Defense attorney Alex Hutt asked Judge Mark Thomas to drop armed robbery, robbery, assault and felony theft charges against his client, Kristopher Lawrence, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hutt said although Lawrence was at the scene of an armed robbery on July 16 near East Avenue, he played a passive role by staying back as another acted as the aggressor.

“I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support armed robbery,” Hutt said.

Washington County Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Michael countered, saying Lawrence “was there, indicating he was willing.”

Thomas ruled that sufficient probable cause existed to support the charges and move the case to Washington County Circuit Court.

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Detective Tammy Jurado testified Wednesday that Lawrence tried to escape with his hands cuffed behind his back as an officer was unlocking a cruiser to take Lawrence from the police station to the central booking facility.

She said Lawrence fled across Burhans Boulevard and eventually was captured in the 400 block of West Antietam Street, a few blocks from where the chase started.

Lawrence was charged with two counts each of armed robbery, robbery, first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

He also was charged with one count each of theft of $1,000 to under $10,000, theft of less than $1,000, handgun on person, handgun use in a felony/violent crime and second-degree escape.

Jurado said police were called July 16 for an armed robbery at a garage behind a building at 42 East Ave.

The two victims who were in the garage said one of the two robbers struck him on the head with a handgun.

The victims told police that one of the robbers stole $1,500 in cash and two cellphones before fleeing north on North Locust Street in a gold Toyota that was driven by a third man.

Jurado said during the course of the investigation, police contacted the cellphone companies and traced one of the phones to a home at 21 Madison Ave.

She said Sgt. Jim Robison entered the home and found Lawrence in an upstairs bedroom with a female.

Robison found a black cellphone and had police communications call one of the victim’s cellphone numbers, Jurado said.

She said the phone rang and displayed the number for police communications.

Jurado said Lawrence was taken to the Hagerstown Police Department, where he was identified by one of the victims.

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