- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Waldorf man received a 75-year term with decades of backup time Monday for his involvement in a 2013 armed robbery that escalated into attempted murder.
Kindall Devone Neale, 32, was found guilty in April on 34 different counts, including three counts of attempted second-degree murder and related weapons charges. Combined, Neale received 170 years, with 75 years active, and is awaiting trial later this year for other armed robberies and witness intimidation.
During the trial, Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Francis J. Granados spoke of how on the night of May 30, 2013, Neale followed three men back to the 100 block of Jenkins Drive from a trip to a convenience store in Indian Head and pointed a gun at them, demanding they surrender their possessions. One of the victims, whom Granados identified as a marijuana dealer, had a gun and attempted to fire it, but the gun jammed. This proved to be the catalyst for a gunfight in the residential area, with Neale firing off six rounds before running away into the night, Granados said.
Neale was later found hiding in a closet at a King George, Va., apartment. Neale and girlfriend Barbara Luana Allen later allegedly tried to intimidate the witnesses into not testifying. Shortly before his trial date, Neale also allegedly tried to intimidate Allen into the same, all of which Granados said was Neale “trying to subvert justice.”
At Monday’s sentencing, Granados walked through Neale’s criminal history, including a 2003 second-degree assault and a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit armed robbery from the same year, for the latter of which Neale received a 10-year sentence along with probation.
“You would think that would ... incentivize Mr. Neale to conform his behavior to the law, but it hasn’t,” Granados said. “You have somebody who has a documented history of committing crimes, somebody who has absolutely no remorse for what he’s done.”
For someone as hardened as Neale, Granados said, a prison term is about protecting the community.
“He was being supervised when this happened. Obviously supervised probation is not sufficient to deter Mr. Neale from starting a shootout on a residential street,” Granados said. “He’s dangerous. He has no regard for the law. He’s been given chance after chance. He’s not getting the message here. ... Call me a cynic, but I have very low expectations of Mr. Neale choosing to live a law-abiding life.”
Michael Beach, Neale’s lawyer, said his client was never really given a chance after being released from prison and “was set up in a way.”
Neale, Beach said, is not an easily trusting man, and to that end Beach pointed to how Neale tried to fire him as his counsel the same day the jury was to deliberate on Neale’s guilt. He urged Circuit Judge Helen I. Harrington not to hold Neale’s “lack of candor” against him.
Had the victim’s gun not jammed, Beach said, Neale might well be the victim in this situation.
“[Neale is] somebody who given the good person I know is in there ... I think is redeemable,” Beach said, adding that supervised probation and concerted effort from the state could help him turn his life around in a way that a “hefty sentence” would not.
Gladys Evans, Neale’s mother, said her son is “not a danger to society” as the state contends he is, but rather a victim of the system.
“He’s very kind and giving. He wouldn’t hurt anybody,” Evans said. “When he came out of prison they should have given him help, but they didn’t. ... It’s easy to point finger at a person and say they’re a danger to society, but you don’t know him. Anyone who needs help, he’ll help. I brought him up in the Lord to do the right thing.”
Harrington acknowledged the challenges faced by those trying to re-enter the world after a period of incarceration but said she would have been more understanding to an extent had Neale’s crimes been on a smaller scale and not so violent and deliberate.
“You were on their turf. You displayed a gun first. ... That doesn’t rise to self-defense in my book,” Harrington said.
Harrington also took issue with how Neale hid his gun openly behind a couch in the Virginia apartment where children resided, saying that “doesn’t show the kind and caring person your mother would like to believe you are.” She then addressed Neale’s victim mentality and how he said he was set up and how that mindset seemed pervasive among his family.
“This is not the record of a person who’s tried to stay clean and change his life,” Harrington said.
Neale declined to speak at the sentencing.