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Hagerstown man cleared of attempted murder, robbery charges in home invasion

Xavier Tates was found guilty on two counts each of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment

August 23, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Washington County Circuit Court jury this week acquitted a Hagerstown man of attempted murder and robbery charges in a November 2012 home invasion, but found him guilty on lesser counts of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Xavier Tates, 25, whose last known address was South Locust Street, was found guilty Tuesday on two counts each of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, according to court records.

It was the second time Tates had been charged with attempted first-degree murder, with the first occurring in 2005 in Baltimore, court records said.

In that case, Tates was convicted of first-degree assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison, Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson said.

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Tates was released from prison in August 2012, Wilson said.

Hagerstown police went to the 200 block of Frederick St. shortly before 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 for a report of a home invasion, according to the application for statement of charges.

Two men, Kenneth A. Platt Jr. and Jason T. Baker, had been taken to Meritus Medical Center with stab wounds, the charging documents said.

There were several adults and two children in the house at the time of the incident. Platt had a co-worker known as “X” with him who made a phone call to an unknown person, giving directions to the house, the documents said.

Platt and “X,” later identified as Tates, went outside to wait for the other man, but witnesses told police Platt rushed back inside and tried unsuccessfully to keep a masked man armed with a shotgun from forcing his way in, the documents said.

A woman in the house, Jessica Pettner, was struck in the head with the butt of the shotgun, and Tates came back into the house, the documents said.

A melee ensued as Platt and Baker struggled with the masked man for the shotgun, and both were allegedly stabbed by Tates, Wilson told the jury in his closing argument.

Platt and Baker both sustained a collapsed lung, while Pettner had a laceration to her thigh and was treated for a concussion, the documents said.

During the two-day trial, Pettner and Baker testified, but Platt and another woman present during the incident could not be found, Wilson said.

The masked man with the shotgun was never identified, Wilson said.

“The real culprit is still out there walking around,” Assistant Public Defender Amy Taylor-Heimberg told the jury, referring to the masked man.

The testimony of Baker and Pettner lacked credibility, she said.

Wilson told the jury that the first statements Pettner and Baker gave to police were “a lie,” in that they told police the attack occurred outside the apartment. However, their later statements were consistent with what investigators believed happened.

Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley deferred sentencing until a later date.

The maximum sentence for the assault and reckless endangerment convictions totals 30 years.

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