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Fatal stabbing case forwarded to Circuit Court

Antonio Gardner is charged with second-degree murder in death of Shakur Thornton of Hagerstown

April 25, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Antonio Gardner
Antonio Gardner

A woman was escorted from Washington County District Court on Thursday following an outburst at a preliminary hearing for a man charged with killing her son.

“That was my son ... I hope you rot in hell,” Dolores Thornton yelled during testimony in the hearing for Antonio Gardner, 26, of Washington, D.C., charged with second-degree murder in the March 29 stabbing death of 17-year-old Shakur Thornton of Hagerstown.

Thornton’s mother was taken from the courtroom without further incident.

Washington County District Judge Mark D. Thomas said he found probable cause to forward to Circuit Court charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Hagerstown Police Detective Jason Ackerman testified that police were summoned to the first block of West Franklin Street shortly before 11 p.m. on March 29 for a report of a fight.

An officer stopped and spoke briefly with Gardner and another man before telling them they could go, Ackerman testified. Thornton, who suffered a knife wound to the heart and later was pronounced dead at Meritus Medical Center, was found a short time later and police questioned Gardner and the other man again, Ackerman testified.

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Gardner had blood on his clothing and a cut to his hand, Ackerman testified.

Ackerman testified that witnesses told officers there was an argument between Thornton and a group of people in a parking lot near the corner of Jonathan and Church streets. Thornton was punched and then ran, with two men pursuing him, Ackerman said.

When Gardner was interviewed by officers he told them he knew who Thornton was, Ackerman testified.

Gardner told police that during the struggle with Thornton, he reached into his pocket to get a knife and cut himself, Ackerman testified.

Gardner told police he was behind Thornton with his arms around him and the knife in his hand, Ackerman testified. Gardner told police that, during the fight, they both fell backwards to the ground, he said from the stand.

Gardner told police he was not sure he had stabbed Thornton, according to Ackerman’s testimony.

On cross-examination by Assistant Public Defender Brian Hutchison, Ackerman testified that no witnesses said they saw Gardner take out a knife, stab Thornton, or threaten to stab him. Ackerman also testified the knife was not found.

Ackerman testified that not all of the witnesses in the case have been cooperative with police.

Assistant State’s Attorney Leon Debes objected when Hutchison asked Ackerman if there were any witness statements indicating someone else stabbed Thornton, or that someone else was involved. Debes told Thomas those were matters to be argued at a suppression hearing or trial.

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