- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A St. Mary’s judge ordered Wednesday that a Calvert County man be held in jail without bond on an indictment charging him with attempted armed robbery from an incident last summer at a Great Mills business where a prosecutor said the crime was disrupted by an armed employee.
Devonte Sahr Taylor, 23, of Dunkirk and another male suspect went into Three Mules Welding Supply with a “knockoff” version of an AK-47 assault rifle, St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard Fritz (R) alleged during this week’s court proceeding, but James Benton Oliver Jr. also was armed.
“Apparently, Mr. Oliver got the drop on them,” Fritz said, “with a .38-caliber pistol.”
Police responding to the area found the rifle alongside a roadway, the prosecutor said, along with wire ties that the culprits had intended to use to bound the employee.
Taylor and Morsell Christopher Mackall, 19, originally were charged in the case through district court papers stating that two men with bandanas over their faces went into the shop on the morning of July 20, before they saw the handgun and ran away.
Detectives learned that Taylor and Mackall discussed and planned the robbery while traveling from Charles County to St. Mary’s, charging papers allege, and that they were dropped off near the intersection of Chancellor’s Run Road and Pegg Road. Court papers state that Taylor later told witnesses that Mackall had a problem with their gun, before the pistol was pointed at them.
St. Mary’s grand jurors filed indictments alleging that Taylor and Mackall conspired with Paula Ann Miller, 43, of Lusby and Melissa Mae Benton, 36, of Lusby to attempt to rob the man at the shop.
Mackall was released from jail last October on a $25,000 bond to await a trial in the case scheduled for later this month. Miller, jailed last October in lieu of $100,000 bond after she was indicted in the case, also is scheduled to face trial later this month. Benton was released on $25,000 bond in November after her arraignment on an indictment in the case, and her case is scheduled for trial in February.
On Wednesday, public defender Sarah Elkins asked during Taylor’s bond hearing how the prosecutor had identified her client as a suspect in the case, and she said that Taylor has never possessed a firearm and never had been to St. Mary’s until he was jailed on the indictment.
Fritz suggested that Taylor be held in lieu of $100,000 bond, but St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Michael J. Stamm denied him any pretrial release.
“No bond status would be more appropriate,” the judge said. “They’re only allegations, but they’re very serious and dangerous to our community.”