- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
This story was updated at 11:45 a.m. Monday, April 14. See below for explanation.
The ringleaders of a group of so-called “sovereign citizens” received jail time earlier this week.
Lamont Maurice Butler, a 29-year-old Washington, D.C., resident, and 35-year-old Sakita Holly of Waldorf were part of a group of seven people arrested last year in Waldorf after they broke into a house owned by a bank and lived there illegally for about a month or so before being caught. Last month, Holly and Butler both were found guilty of first-degree burglary, theft of more than $100,000 in value, conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit theft of more than $100,000 in value.
This was not the first time Butler and Holly had been arrested for crimes of this nature. They were arrested in Montgomery County last January for occupying a Bethesda home that was on the market at that time. Butler received five years of probation and a 10-year suspended prison sentence.
In that case, Holly was found guilty of first-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit the same. She received a five-year sentence with all but 135 days suspended and five years of supervised probation. Holly received credit for those days, as she already had served them.
In both cases, Holly and Butler appeared before the courts without legal counsel. At his sentencing Wednesday morning, Butler asserted that he and Holly are both members of the Moorish nation and as such were entitled to act as they had. He urged Circuit Judge Amy J. Bragunier to dismiss the case entirely, as the pair have “a right to civil liberty.”
Butler, also known as Lamont Maurice El, repeatedly referred to the court as a “foreign venue” and lobbed accusations of treason at the court and its employees.
Bragunier said Butler had played a greater role in the crime than Holly and that he was “not in any way remorseful.”
Butler received a 20-year sentence, with all but 10 suspended, and five years of probation. Holly received 20 years total, with all but five of those suspended.
Charles County State’s Attorney Anthony B. Covington (D) said the case was clear-cut from the start.
“This is very straightforward. Both have been convicted in Montgomery County of the same thing,” Covington said. “It’s blatant disregard for the laws. ... You can’t go around taking other people’s property with impunity, be it a car or a house.”
Others involved in the case received probation terms, with the exception of 47-year-old Tia Carpenter, who bit an officer at the time of her arrest and for that was charged with second-degree assault. Carpenter pleaded guilty in January and received a 90-day sentence. Charges against another person involved, 29-year-old Lashonda Washington, are listed as inactive online.
This story was updated to correct the outcome of Montgomery County court proceedings.