- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A St. Mary’s court commissioner made no specific reference to John Otha Dickens Jr.’s initial arrest this month on domestic assault charges, in court papers setting a $5,000 bond requirement for a second set of more serious assault charges.
Dickens, 24, was back in jail by midday last Thursday, on no bond, after a hearing before a St. Mary’s District Judge Christy Holt Chesser, requested by county prosecutors. St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz (R) had characterized Dickens’ release by the court commissioner’s office, on a lower bond than in his first case, as a decision that did “defy all logic and can only suggest that the district court commissioner was confused in his decision-making progress.”
Dickens’ initial arrest at the beginning of last week, on charges alleging he twice beat on a girlfriend’s head and body, was followed by his release on a $7,500 bond required by court commissioner James Karaczynski, who ordered that Dickens have no contact with the woman and not return to her address as a condition of his pretrial release.
Last Monday morning, charging papers allege, Dickens was back at the woman’s home, where cut her friend and daughter with a knife and was attacking the woman again in a bedroom when St. Mary’s sheriff’s Cpl. John Kirkner shot and wounded Dickens.
Dickens was flown to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, sheriff’s detectives report, before he was released from the hospital and arrested again Tuesday on new charges from the previous day’s incident, including three offenses of first-degree assault.
Court commissioner Roy Wetzel set a bond requirement of $5,000 for Dickens’ pretrial release on those charges, making no reference to the initial arrest, but setting conditions that Dickens “obey all laws” and “obey all court orders.” Dickens was released later that day on the $5,000 bond, posted in both cases by a bondsman in Baltimore, until the prosecutor’s request on Wednesday that Dickens’ bond be revoked was granted by a judge.