Prince George’s County Man, 19, freed after 7 months in jail; robbery testimony at odds

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

After 7 months in jail; robbery testimony at odds

By Ruben Castaneda

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 9, 2010

For nearly four hours in June, Eric W. Johnson insisted to Prince George’s County police detectives that the two armed robbery victims who had identified him as a culprit were wrong, that he was innocent.

For seven months, Johnson, 19, remained in the county jail in Upper Marlboro, awaiting a jury’s decision on charges of armed robbery, first-degree assault, using a handgun in a crime of violence, 17 offenses in all, carrying the possibility of decades of prison time.

The jury never weighed in. On Thursday, before what would have been the second day of Johnson’s trial, Assistant State’s Attorney Ada Clark-Edwards dropped all charges against Johnson.

About seven hours later, he was released from the jail and celebrated by devouring a Big Mac meal at a McDonald’s restaurant.

“I think the criminal justice system works in wrong ways,” Johnson said in an interview less than two hours after he was freed. “I’m completely innocent.”

Clark-Edwards referred questions to Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey. Korionoff said the state dropped the charges because its two key witnesses were contradictory in their testimony and prosecutors no longer had confidence in their case.

For example, one of the victims, Lillian Hall, testified that the attacker she thought was Johnson had dark skin. Johnson is light-complexioned, defense attorneys Andrew Jezic and David Moyse said. The other victim, Timothy Flemmings, told police that the attacker he thought was Johnson hit him in the head with a gun; on the witness stand, Flemmings did not remember that, the attorneys said.

It is highly unusual for prosecutors to drop charges against a criminal defendant in the middle of a trial. In July 2006, Prince George’s prosecutors dropped double-murder charges against Edgar “L.A.” Reyes when cellphone records provided by a homicide detective during the trial cast doubt on the veracity of the state’s lone witness.

At the outset of the Johnson trial, Hall and Flemmings took the stand and testified that Johnson was one of several men who robbed them at gunpoint about 10:30 p.m. June 7 in the 5600 block of Auth Road in Suitland.

According to police charging documents, one victim, Flemmings, surrendered a cellphone and an iPod. Hall gave the robbers her purse, her wallet and $22 in cash. A third victim, a woman, gave up her purse and wallet.

Johnson’s hairstyle — he wears dreadlocks — is a reason he became a suspect, Jezic and Moyse said. The victims of that robbery said one of the attackers had dreadlocks and a cap.

About 5 1/2 hours after the Auth Road robbery, about 4 a.m. June 8, police were called to the scene of a robbery about five miles away, Jezic said. Johnson, who had been out at a nightclub, was spotted walking with two other men about six blocks from that robbery, Jezic said. The victim of the later robbery was brought to the street where Johnson and his friends were detained and said Johnson was not his attacker, Jezic said.

Nonetheless, detectives put Johnson’s picture in a photo array, and Hall and Flemings identified him as one of the men who had robbed them. The third victim said she could not identify anyone from the photo array.



FREE CONSULTATION

(240)292-7200

Locations

Awards

  • ALERT: Arrest in the homicides of 3 children in Clinton
    Tonight Homicide Detectives with the Prince George's County Police Department arrested 24 year old Clinton resident Antonio Williams of the 6400 block of Brook Jane Drive in the triple homicide of 3 juvenile females in Clinton.   At this point, we are unable to share further details due to the ongoing investigation, but it was critical […]
  • PGPD Investigating Fatal Collision in Langley Park
    The Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit is investigating a fatal collision in Langley Park. The victim is 58-year-old Gilbert Kuncl of Cragsmoore Court in Ellicott City.On August 17th, around 10:05 am, patrol officers were called to the 8200 block of 15thAvenue for the report of a collision. Kuncl was taken to the hospital in critical […]
  • Wanted Wednesday
    Surveillance Video of Armed RobberyThis week we’re starting Wanted Wednesday with surveillance video that captures a brazen robbery at a business in Capitol Heights. This happened back on June 13th. On the video, two suspects in a blue car stop at the business. A victim approaches the car and the suspects immediately begin to rob […]
  • PGPD Investigates Domestic-Related Murder/Suicide in Upper Marlboro
    The Homicide Unit is investigating a domestic-related murder/suicide in Upper Marlboro. The victim is 54-year-old Bernard Williams of Miller Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The suspect is 53-year-old Kiwa Toomer of the 14000 block of New Arcadia Lane. The victim and suspect were in a relationship.On August 15th, at about 7:45 pm, officers were called to […]
  • Important cancellation message regarding Seat Pleasant Kevin Durant Day
    In support of the City of Seat Pleasant, the Prince George's County Police Department is sharing the following message: The festival scheduled for Kevin Durant Day in the City of Seat Pleasant this Thursday, August 17th, 2017 is CANCELLED.   The parade only will go on as scheduled from 10 am to 11 am. All media inquiries are being handled by […]
  • Detectives Arrest Suspect in Capitol Heights Homicide
    Martinez Ferrell Detectives with our Homicide Unit identified and arrested a suspect wanted for a recent homicide in Capitol Heights. The suspect is 38-year-old Martinez Ferrell of the 1000 block of Atlee Drive in Landover. He’s charged with the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Kevin Hawkins of Harrods Way in Landover. On July 29th, at about 11:30 […]
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Linkedin