St. Mary’s prosecutors dropped all charges on Thursday against a waterman from a fishing permit’s transfer, after he agreed to turn it over to another man who a prosecutor said also will receive $10,000.
In addition to dismissing the charges including perjury and theft that were filed last August against 62-year-old Robert M. Lumpkins of Piney Point, a prosecutor also dismissed identical charges against 28-year-old Ryan Marshall Edwards, also of Piney Point. Sharon Lea Hammett, a 63-year-old Leonardtown resident, faces trial in December on charges of counterfeiting a public seal and misconduct in office, in charging papers alleging she took part as a notary in the transfer in September of last year of a permit that, according to court papers filed by Maryland Natural Resources Police, was the property of David O’Donell McKenney.
McKenney, an uncle of Lumpkins, suffered severe spinal injuries last year in a bicycle accident, according to a natural resources police public information officer. McKenney was in a quadriplegic condition when he was admitted to a hospital early in September of that year, and died two months later, according to court filings stating that McKenney’s striped bass allocation and commercial tidal fish license were transferred during that period.
On Thursday morning in St. Mary’s district court, Kevin McDevitt, Lumpkins’ lawyer, filed a motion “to permanently transfer [the] commercial striped bass allocation, [number] 20-84, from Robert Lumpkins to Chris Morley,” identified by a state’s attorney’s office investigator this week as a grandson of McKenney.
The charging papers filed against Lumpkins stated that he earned about $10,000 during the 2015-2016 season by obtaining the striped bass allocation permit. During Thursday morning’s court proceedings, Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Kane announced the dismissal of the charges against Lumpkins, and that Lumpkins has paid $10,000 in restitution for Morley.
“We are happy the charges have been dropped,” McDevitt said on Monday. “Robert Lumpkins did not steal this license. Tidal fish license 20-84, with 1,000 pounds of fish allocation, was his all along. He bought it from John Wiggin in 2012 and put it in his beloved Uncle Donell’s name for business purposes only. Maryland watermen can only personally hold or be the beneficiary of one tidal fish license at a time.”
McDevitt added, “Mr. Lumpkins is a lifelong waterman and is happy to continue running his wholesale seafood distribution business in beautiful Piney Point.”