A 31-year-old man who stood watch as his wife robbed a woman and temporarily blinded her with pepper spray was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday morning.
Wayne D. Somerville Jr. and his wife, Samantha Ann Somerville, of no fixed address, were both indicted in March for a February robbery and assault on Constance Humiston, who was robbed while she stepped out of a dry-cleaning business in Lexington Park.
Charging papers say that Samantha Somerville approached Humiston as she was exiting the Lexington Park Cleaners on Shangri-La Drive around noon on Feb. 20 and asked her what time it was, then grabbed Humiston’s purse. The papers state that Samantha Somerville “sprayed [Humiston] in the face with Mace” as they “were tussling over the purse.”
Wayne Somerville “was observed in the cleaner’s surveillance cameras standing to watch over the incident.”
After Samantha Somerville had taken the purse, a witness saw the couple flee into the Popeye’s on Shangri-La Drive, where they were apprehended in the bathroom. A statement of probable cause written by Cpl. Timothy Snyder says that police found a “black can of Mace” in a book bag belonging to Samantha Somerville and a “small pink can of Mace” in Wayne Somerville’s jacket pocket.
The Somervilles both pleaded guilty to armed robbery on May 31, and to a separate theft scheme case the same day. In that case, Samantha Somerville was accused of cashing checks that belonged to her grandmother while her husband waited in the car. Wayne Somerville was sentenced for both incidents on Monday.
“This is the very type of crime that makes everyone’s wives and husbands afraid to walk across the street,” State’s Attorney Richard Fritz (R) said at Monday’s sentencing hearing.
Humiston and her husband, Todd Humiston, appeared in court during the sentencing.
“I no longer feel safe in St. Mary’s County,” Constance Humiston said in court. “I no longer go to any business in Lexington Park alone.”
“Emotionally it’s like I am now, it rips your heart out,” Todd Humiston said. “The fear is always there now.”
Fritz asked St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Michael J. Stamm to sentence Wayne Somerville above the sentencing guidelines, which he said are four to nine years for this case. He said the Somervilles targeted Constance Humiston because “she is of the weaker sex.”
Maria Doerflinger, Wayne Somerville’s public defender, objected to Fritz’s allegation. “There is no evidence that she was targeted because of her sex,” Doerflinger said in court.
Doerflinger said that although both of the Somervilles had a prior record, “they don’t have histories of assaulting and robbing people.” She said that it is “not clear how they went from zero to 60 so quickly.”
Wayne Somerville apologized to the Humistons before his sentencing. He said that “there was never any point where we targeted somebody,” and that he just wanted to “beg for the court’s mercy at this point.”
“You are a thief,” Stamm said. “A lot of people apologize when they’re standing before the judge … and most of what I see is crocodile tears.”
Stamm sentenced Somerville to 15 years incarceration with credit for the 201 days he has spent in the detention center. He must serve half of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.
“This is a beautiful place. Don’t let this incident destroy you,” Stamm said to Constance Humiston after the sentencing.