Posts Tagged ‘Prince George’s County’

Va. Woman Is Pr. George’s 29th Homicide Victim

Friday, April 8th, 2011

A Virginia woman was shot and killed in Bladensburg, Md., Thursday night, and a baby girl was found with her body, a Prince George’s County Police spokesman said.

Shawnta Lysheema Coleman, 33, of the 6400 block of Wilcox Court in Alexandria, Va., was found shot behind an apartment complex at about 10:20 p.m. Thursday, police Cpl. Henry Tippett said.

The baby, found with Coleman’s body in the 5600 block of Emerson Street, was unharmed, police Cpl. Larry Johnson said. She is in the custody of the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, Johnson said.

A call made to the Department of Social Services was not immediately returned.

It was not known whether the baby was related to Coleman, Johnson said.

Coleman is the county’s 29th homicide victim in 2011, and the second this month.

Abraham Felipe-Lopez, 32, of the 1400 block of Kanawha Street in Langley Park, Md., was fatally stabbed during an argument on Saturday.

- By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

Pr. George’s 22nd Homicide Victim May Have Been Homeless

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Homicides in Prince George’s County this year; the latest is in red. View in a larger map.

A man with no fixed address was found dead in Landover, Md., early Wednesday morning, becoming Prince George’s County’s 22nd homicide victim in 2011.

George Eugene Borden, 46, who police say was likely homeless, was found dead at 4:40 a.m. in a house in the 1300 block of Eli Place in Landover, Md. Details on how Borden was killed have not been released by police and the investigation is ongoing, a police spokesman said.

Police Cpl. Evan Baxter said crimes involving the homeless are sometimes more difficult to solve, but the difficulty varies from case to case.

“A homeless guy found alone dead for a couple days in a back alley is one thing,” Baxter said. “If people knew him, that’s another.

“We have in the past had homeless cases that got solved within 24 hours. It’s case by case.”

Borden’s killing is the 22nd homicide in Prince George’s this year, but only the 21st to be investigated as a criminal homicide. The other was deemed self defense.

–By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

Johnsons to Appear in Federal Court Next Week

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Prince George’s County Council member Leslie Johnson is scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday, a day after her husband, former county executive Jack Johnson, is set to appear.

Leslie Johnson will be in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt for a preliminary hearing Wednesday at 4 p.m. Preliminary hearings have been postponed twice, the first time in December. The most recent postponement came in early February, when the 6th District Democrat requested more time to prepare.

Hardy Vieux, Leslie Johnson’s lawyer, declined to comment.

She faces charges of witness tampering and destruction of evidence in an FBI corruption probe, according to court documents. Federal prosecutors have until the day of the preliminary hearing to indict Leslie Johnson. If indicted, the preliminary hearing would be canceled and an arraignment would be scheduled in federal court.

U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Vickie E. Leduc would not comment on the likelihood of an indictment.

Jack Johnson is scheduled in court Tuesday at 1:45 p.m. to enter a plea. He was indicted on eight counts, including bribery, on Feb. 14.

Jack Johnson’s lawyer, Billy Martin, did not respond to a phone message.

Related Special Report: FBI Probe in Prince George’s

- By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

Johnson Indicted on Eight Counts, Including Bribery

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson was indicted by a grand jury on eight counts in federal court Monday, setting up a probable court appearance for Johnson in early March, a U.S.  Attorney spokeswoman said.

Johnson had been scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., tomorrow for a preliminary hearing in which Magistrate Judge William Connelly would have made a ruling on whether or not there was enough evidence for the case to continue forward.

But Johnson’s indictment made the preliminary hearing unnecessary. The former executive, arrested by FBI agents in November as part of a sweeping county corruption probe, was charged on eight counts including conspiracy, bribery, witness and evidence tampering.

The 31-page indictment alleges Johnson committed extortion and accepted bribes totaling more than $200,000 from developers starting in 2003 until he was detained by the FBI on Nov. 12, 2010. In return, Johnson assisted two developers, not named but listed as co-conspirators in the indictment, in obtaining land and county funding for projects.

Billy Martin, Johnson’s lawyer, did not respond to phone messages left at his office.

The indictment also includes quotations from a number of phone conversations in which Johnson allegedly asked liquor store owner Amrik Singh Melhi to contribute money to the County Council campaign of his wife, Leslie Johnson.

Melhi was charged in November in a scheme to distribute untaxed alcohol and cigarettes.

A full transcript of a phone conversation that took place between Jack Johnson and Leslie Johnson, as the FBI waited at the couples’ door in Mitchellville, also appears in the indictment.

“There’s a little box and in the box there’s a check,” Jack Johnson said, according to the indictment. “Just tear it up or, or, or chew it up, somethin’, OK?”

Jack Johnson also told Leslie Johnson to hide cash in her underwear, the indictment said. FBI agents found $79,600 cash in her bra and underwear after a search, the indictment said.

Leslie Johnson, who was elected to the County Council in November, is scheduled to be in federal court for a preliminary hearing on March 16. She faces charges of witness tampering and destruction of evidence.

-By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

Pr. George’s 16th Homicide in Temple Hills

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

A Washington, D.C., man became the 16th homicide victim in Prince George’s County this year as he left a Temple Hills, Md., banquet hall early Saturday morning, a police spokesman said.

Brandon Earl Baswell, 24, was found shot outside Plaza 23 Event Center in the 4300 block of St. Barnabas Road in Temple Hills around 3:30 a.m., police Cpl. Larry Johnson said.

Baswell, of the 2900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue S.E., was taken to a local hospital, where he later died.

Prince George’s County Police went to the scene when a Seat Pleasant, Md., police officer called county police after hearing gunshots, Johnson said.

Police have no leads and have not identified a motive in the shooting, he said, but believe someone saw the shooting take place.

“There were at least 50 to 100 people out there at the time who did not cooperate” when questioned by police, Johnson said. Most of those people are believed to have been in the Plaza 23 Event Center, where Johnson said a concert was just finishing.

A message left at the event center was not immediately returned.

Plaza 23′s website says the establishment is a banquet hall facility and that it is “available for rental seven days a week, 365 days a year on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Johnson said anyone with information can make an anonymous tip to Prince George’s County Police by calling Crime Solvers at 1-866-411 TIPS (8477), texting “PGPD” and a message to CRIMES (274637), or by submitting a tip via the police website.

-By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

Police Officer Shot in Takoma Pk. Bank Robbery

Friday, January 28th, 2011

PALMER PARK, Md. – A Prince George’s County police officer was shot this morning after an armed man took hostages at a Takoma Park bank.

The suspect, whose name has not yet been released, was shot and killed by police as he left the Capital One bank at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard with a female hostage. The hostage, whose name was not released, was “shaken,” but otherwise unhurt, Prince George’s County police said.

The officer who was shot has not been identified by police. He suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital, said Prince George’s County Police Lt. Col. Gary Cunningham.

Cunningham declined to offer details about the officer’s condition.

Details of the shooting were unclear, but Prince George’s police spokeswoman Michelle Reedy said it’s a possibility the officer was accidentally shot by another officer when responding to the bank robbery. She did not have any other specific details shortly after noon Friday.

The attempted bank robbery occurred the same morning Prince George’s police planned to announce the closure of their fifth case related to the county’s spate of murders this month.

Prince George’s police arrested a suspect in the Jan. 8 killing of Alejandro Marcos Diaz Vasquez, 30, of the 7900 block of 15th Avenue in Langley Park, Md.

Police said a Hyattsville 16-year-old confessed Jan. 24 to stabbing
Vasquez in the 1400 block of University Boulevard. The teen suspect is being charged as a
juvenile with first- and second-degree murder.

Cunningham said the killing does not appear to be gang related, and that
there is no apparent relationship between the suspect and victim. He
said a motive has not been established because the suspect has provided
“conflicting stories.”

“He did admit to stabbing him,” Cunningham said.

Police said they did not know if the teen suspect had legal representation.

Prince George’s County was plagued by 12 criminal homicides in 13 days
at the start of 2011. Two murders have occurred since, with the last coming
Monday afternoon when police found Mckinney Antonio White Jr., 34, dead
in the 5700 block of Silver Hill Road in District Heights.

The pace of homicides has slowed in recent days.

“Obviously we’ve done some things to reduce the rate,” Cunningham said. “The
first 12 days we had 12 homicides. The last two weeks that number is
significantly reduced. So … we hope the trend continues.”

–By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

District Heights Killing Is Pr. George’s 15th

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

A District Heights man was shot and killed late Monday afternoon, Prince George’s County police said.

Mckinney Antonio White Jr., 34, was found by police in the 5700 block of Silver Hill Road at about 5 p.m. Monday, a police statement said.

Police do not yet have any suspects or a motive.

“We’re still pleading with the public for information,” said police Cpl. Erica Johnson.

White, of the 6800 block of Atwood Street, is the 15th person killed this year in the county, including 13 homicides that occurred by Jan. 13.

Johnson said there is no indication that White’s slaying is connected to any previous case.

-By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

Suitland Homicide County’s 14th in 2011

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011


Prince George’s County Police have identified the man killed in Wednesday’s early morning shooting in Suitland as Douglas Hodge Jordan Jr. of Washington, D.C.

Jordan, 22, was found in the 3500 block of Terrace Drive after police received a call about a shooting just after 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, said police Cpl. Larry Johnson.

Jordan, of the 2200 block of Mount View Place SE, was taken to a local hospital where he later died, Johnson said.

The slaying was the 14th homicide in Prince George’s County this year.

County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and local law enforcement officials held a press conference Tuesday to urge members of the community who have information about the killings to come forward.

Individuals with information who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411 TIPS (8477) or text “PGPD” and the message to CRIMES (274637) on a cell phone. Tips can also be submitted online through the Prince George’s County Police website.

Arrests have been made in four of the cases, including one announced Tuesday by Acting Police Chief Mark Magaw in connection with the Jan. 1 killing of Ansel Donovan Whitelocke, 58, of Chillum.

-By Maryland Newsline’s Alexander Pyles

Two More Not Guilty Pleas Entered in County Corruption Probe

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

GREENBELT, Md. – Two more of the nine charged Nov. 15 in a sweeping corruption probe in Prince George’s County pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Wednesday morning.

Amir Miljkovic, 39, and Mirza Kujundzic, 30, who were named in separate indictments involving smuggling alcohol, tobacco and drugs through Maryland and Virginia, entered their pleas to U.S. Magistrate Judge Jillyn K. Schulze.

Miljkovic’s trial date has been set for Jan. 18. Dates for Kujundzic’s next court appearances were not established.

Miljkovic is accused of taking part in a scheme to transport and distribute untaxed alcohol and cigarettes from Virginia and Maryland — a plan in which prosecutors allege a prominent Langley Park liquor store owner and his wife paid off Prince George’s County police officers to assist in the illegal operation.

The store owner and his wife, Amrik Singh Melhi, 51, and Ravinder Kaur Melhi, 49, pleaded not guilty to the same charges on Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege that Kujundzic, along with Prince George’s County Police Officer Sinisa Simic, 25, planned to transport and distribute cocaine and obtained firearms to further the trafficking of drugs.

Simic is scheduled to enter a plea on Thursday.

–By Maryland Newsline’s Justin Karp

Langley Park Store Owners, Police Corporal, Plead Not Guilty in Corruption Probe

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

GREENBELT, Md. – A Langley Park store owner, his wife and a Prince George’s County Police corporal accused of conspiring to transport untaxed cigarettes and alcohol in Maryland and Virginia pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Prince George’s County Police Cpl. Chong Chen Kim, 42, of Beltsville, was released until his jury trial in January. He was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jillyn K. Schulze to adhere to curfew calls until an electronic monitoring system could be set up for him.

Ravinder Kaur Melhi, 49, who with husband Amrik Singh Melhi, 51, has ownership interests in Tick Tock Liquors in Langley Park, will be released Wednesday morning under a strict set of conditions that include a mental health evaluation, 24-hour electronic monitoring, no new travel plans and no purchases over $1,000. She petitioned the court for permission to attend religious services, but her request was denied.

Her husband has not been released.

Kenneth W. Ravenell, lawyer for Amrik Melhi, said afterward, “Obviously, there has been a plea of not guilty, so those charges are being disputed. There will be a day in court, and it will all come out in the wash.”

More than 30 family members, friends and supporters crowded into the small courtroom to await the results of Ravinder Melhi’s arraignment and detention hearings, but they declined to comment afterward.

Members of the Guru Nanak Foundation, a religious organization of which Ravinder Melhi is a member of the board of trustees, circulated a petition labeling the Melhis “very dedicated parents that are very much involved in the community [and] pose no threat.”  The petition had more than 200 signatures on it, organization officials said.

The Melhis and Kim were arrested Nov. 15 as part of a sweeping FBI corruption probe in Prince George’s County that also ensnared County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, County Council member-elect Leslie Johnson. The Johnsons were charged Nov. 12 with evidence tampering and destruction of records in a federal investigation of county officials’ sweetheart deals with developers. They are expected back in court for a preliminary hearing Dec. 13.

Phone taps revealed the county executive told his wife on Nov. 12 to find and tear up a $100,000 check written to him by a developer, and to flush it down a toilet in their home. He also told her, as FBI agents were knocking on the front door of their Mitchellville home, to hide $79,600 in cash in her underwear, court records state. Soon after, FBI agents entered their home, searched Leslie Johnson and found the cash in her bra, court documents state.

Prosecutors allege Amrik Melhi paid off law enforcement officials, including Kim and Prince George’s County Police Sgt. Richard Delabrer, 45, of Laurel, to help transport untaxed cigarettes and alcohol in Maryland and Virginia. Four others, including Ravinder Melhi, were charged in connection with this scheme. Delabrer pleaded not guilty last week.

Two others – Prince George’s County Police Officer Sinisa Simic, 25, and Mirza Kujundzic, 30, both of Woodbridge, Va. – were charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine and unlawful possession of firearms for drug trafficking.

Schultze scheduled Dec. 10 motion hearings for the Melhis and Kim. An eight-week jury trial is expected to begin Jan. 18.

--By Maryland Newsline’s Michelle J. Nealy