Per the Office of the Montgomery County State’s Attorney: “In the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD, the Honorable Eric Johnson sentenced defendant, Eon Brummell, 27, of Germantown, to 20 years in prison suspend all but 5 years to serve and five years of supervised probation upon release.
On Oct. 30th, 2023, Brummell pleaded guilty to a Distribution of Narcotics charge that was filed in May of 2023 stemming from an incident in May 2022. He also pleaded guilty to Possession of a Large Amount of Narcotics due to the fact that he had 634 pills containing fentanyl in his possession when he was arrested in June of 2023. Judge Johnson issued his sentence at the time of the plea hearing.
“These pills, made to look like pharmaceutical medication were, in fact, fentanyl. Fentanyl-related deaths are plaguing the nation and we thank all involved in working to remove dangerous, illicit substances from our community. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation with Montgomery County Police Department who participated in the DEA, HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force. We commend the detectives, Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Kroepsch who handled prosecution, and Judge Johnson who issued an appropriate prison sentence,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
Per the Office of the State’s Attorney: “Today in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD, the Honorable Cheryl McCally sentenced defendant, Tavon Burton, 21, of Gaithersburg, to 20 years in prison suspend all but 15 years to serve and five years of supervised probation upon release. The State requested Burton be admitted to the Patuxent Youthful Offender program and Judge McCally recommended he be admitted to the program while incarcerated.
Burton pleaded guilty on July 24th, 2023 to first-degree assault for an incident on October 10th, 2022 when he fired a gunshot at a 21-year old male from whom he planned to purchase marijuana. The victim told police Burton attempted to hand him counterfeit money and a confrontation ensued. As part of the plea agreement, Burton also pleaded guilty to an unrelated burglary charge from January 2021.”
From the statement of charges: “On October 10, 2022, at approximately 1956 hours, the victim, Christian Olaya, reported to Montgomery County Police that he had just been robbed at gun point in the 10100 block of Watkins Mil Place, Montgomery Village, Montgomery County, Maryland, and that the suspect fired oneround at him. Upon arrival,Olaya advised that he met with a subject by the name of Tavon Marquis Burton in the 10100 block of Watkins Mill Place to sell marijuana (“designer rapper weed”) to him. Burton and Olaya had arranged the meeting on a phone “app” and Olaya advised that he would meet with Burton only if he sent a picture of his driver’s license. Burton sent Olaya a photo of his Maryland Identification Card. Olaya advised that he backed his vehicle into a parking space on Watkins Mill Place and Burton entered the vehicle and sat in the front passenger seat. Olaya was selling 4 ounces of the “designer rapper weed” for $1,600 to Burton. Olaya stated that the designer rapper weed was in the trunk. Burton tried giving Olaya cash, but Oyala realized that it wasn’t real money and that the cash Burton was using was fake. Upon Olaya confronting Burton about the fake money, stating “what’s wrong with you?”
Burton pulled out a small black Glock handgun and pointed it at Olaya stating that he was going to kill him and was going to shoot him. Olaya continued to state that Burton told
him, “don’t act like I won’t blow you up”. Burton hit him with the handgun on the left side of his head. After striking Olaya with the handgun, Burton attempted to take Olaya’s cell phone which he was holding in his hand. After a brief struggle Olaya gained control of his phone, then advised he panicked and put his vehicle in drive and intentionally drove quickly into a parked vehicle on Watkins Mill Place in an attempt to get away.
After the impact, Burton exited the vehicle first and stood outside of the front passenger side of the vehicle pointing the gun at Olaya. Olaya exited his vehicle and began to run away from the vehicle. Olaya heard one gun shot, but was not hit. Olaya continued to run and did not see Burton again. Olaya called the police at that point.
One spent 9mm shell casing was recovered in the grass near the front passenger door of Olaya’s vehicle, where Burton was standing after the crash. Security video in the area caught Olaya running from his vehicle, yelling, and one gunshot could be heard. Olaya stated that this was the only time he had met Burton, but was 100% positive that the subject in his vehicle was Tavon Burton and was the same person on Burton’s Identification Card.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Teresa Casafranca handled prosecution of this matter.
Today, the State’s Attorney’s Office for Montgomery County unveiled a “data dashboard,” a publicly available resource designed to provide the community with access to information about case referrals, outcomes, and performance indicators. The Montgomery County Prosecutorial Dashboard was created by the nonprofit agency, Prosecutorial Performance Indicators. The Office of the State’s Attorney states that they are pleased to be able to provide a clearer view into the work of our office and how the criminal justice system operates in our community. This is the result of a two-year grant funded study commissioned by State’s Attorney John McCarthy. It is the first of its kind in the state of Maryland.
As part of this project, we received the Final Report on Racial Justice in Prosecution in Montgomery County from Brian Johnson, PhD, a professor of Criminology at the University of Maryland in collaboration with Towson University and George Washington University. It is published within the dashboard under the heading “Data Stories.” “Data and transparency lead to greater access to justice. This is a starting place, and we will now be able to monitor trends over time to understand what’s working and where there are opportunities for improvement,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy. A link to the dashboard is now available via the State’s Attorney’s Office website and it will be updated regularly. “We thank State’s Attorney John McCarthy for his leadership and willingness to commit to building a data culture within his office and promoting transparency in prosecution,” said Melba Pearson, Esq., Co-Manager of the PPIs and Director of Prosecution Projects, Florida International University
The Montgomery County dashboard is the result of a collaborative effort between the Prosecutorial Performing Indicators (PPI), the University of Maryland, Bowie State University, Florida International University, Loyola University Chicago, Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative and funding support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.
This contest challenges teenagers to create an original video to promote awareness of the dangers of opioid abuse/overdose and fentanyl among teens. It is open to all 6th – 12th grade students living in Montgomery County. Top prize is $1,000, second place is $750, third place and fan favorite winners will receive $500 all donated by The Magnolia Companies in honor of two young Montgomery County residents lost to fentanyl; Michael Pisarra and Matthew Loudoun.
Students can enter the contest on their own or as a group; however, students may only participate in ONE entry. If a student in any way participates in more than one PSA video, all of those entries will be disqualified. Video entries including illegal items, inappropriate language, or illustrating the use of needles/syringes, a violent or graphic overdose, or violence in general will not be accepted.** Participants are encouraged to be creative!
- All submissions must have a title.
- All submissions must be in either English or Spanish.
- All submissions must be 50-70 seconds in length.
- All submissions must be uploaded to Google Drive, Dropbox, YouTube, or similar program and a link must be provided below.
All submissions must address at least one of the following as it relates to illegal drug use:
- Statistics or factual information about opioids, drug abuse, overdose, accidental overdose and/or fentanyl.
- Impact of peer pressure or mental health issues.
- Examples of healthy choices when it comes to avoiding the use of illegal drugs.
- Bystander intervention (ie: seeking help from a trusted adult, Naloxone, the Good Samaritan Law).
All submissions must include the visual link: Knowtherisksmc.org or the QR code and logo as a resource.
Submissions may NOT include ANY copyrighted music, audio/video clips, characters, logos, or other protected material. Videos may include music only if it is considered “open source” music, or if it is composed and played by a student (or students) in the group. Please enter the information below, and please make sure you SHARE ACCESS TO YOUR VIDEO so that the judging panel can view it.
If you have questions about the contest, please email [email protected]
The Montgomery County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) reminds us that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Montgomery County Council will present a proclamation tomorrow morning, October 3rd, 2023, recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month and throughout the month of October, visitors to the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza will notice a display of several dozen yard signs containing real warning signs for those experiencing domestic violence and information about available resources. We hope these warning signs shine a light on the prevalence of domestic violence, how to help a loved one, and free resources at the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, and Trauma Services. For digital images of the signs, please visit: www.tinyurl.com/mocodvam
Need help? If you are in need of assistance or have concerns for a friend or family member, call the Montgomery County Family Justice Center at 240-773-0444, the Montgomery County Crisis Center at 240-777-4000 or email [email protected]. The project is an initiative of the DVCC, whose members include the Montgomery County Office of the Sheriff, Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County, Montgomery County Circuit Court, Board of Education, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County Council, Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Montgomery County Commission for Women, and the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.
Featured photo is from 2022’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation
Per the Office of the Montgomery County State’s Attorney: Defendant, Billy Phillips, sentenced today to life plus 65 years for the murder of his former boss, Geoffrey Biddle, inside Biddle’s Bethesda home.
For a period of time, Geoffrey Biddle had trusted the defendant to work for his company, and the defendant abused that trust by using what he learned during his employment to plan his vicious, premeditated attack. According to witnesses, Billy Phillips was fired from his job in April 2021 for fraud and was in financial despair. On June 23rd, 2021, the defendant terrorized Biddle inside Biddle’s own basement and ultimately shot him four times, the final shot being close range to the victim’s head. Phillips had disabled Biddle’s car to prevent him from trying to escape. He also impersonated Biddle via email to excuse Biddle’s absence from work. Hours after the murder, Phillips was cashing forged checks from the victim’s bank account. When he was arrested, the victim’s bank card and checkbook were in his car.
“This case is among the most evil that we have seen. The murder of Geoffrey Biddle was calculated and brutal. The defendant had a history of escalating criminal behavior, and we thank Judge Smith for this sentence which will ensure he no longer poses a threat to the community,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy. Featured photo shows home where murder occurred, courtesy of Google Maps. Photo below shows Billy Phillips and Geoffrey Biddle.
Per the Office of the Montgomery County State’s Attorney: In the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD, before Jusge Michael McAuliffe, a jury has convicted defendant, Joshua Grice, 30, of Washington D.C., on charges of first-degree rape and first-degree burglary-home invasion for breaking into a Takoma Park home and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl who was asleep in her bedroom.
Grice faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison and the potential of a life sentence. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 22, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. The verdict came back late yesterday afternoon after a six-day trial prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney’s Frank Lazzaro and Daniela Chavez.
“This violent offender preyed on a young, innocent child. Due to the efforts of the Montgomery County Crime Lab, Montgomery County Police and our trial team, justice is being served. We also want to recognize the Tree House Child Advocacy Center for its impactful work in cases involving vulnerable victims”, said State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
One in three teens experience dating abuse. So the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Police, State’s Attorney’s Office, Family Justice Center and MCPS have teamed up for RespectFest to begin discussing what healthy dating relationships look like early on. RespectFest is currently running (April 10-16) with virtual seminars and events running through April 14th. Then the in-person festival will be held on Sunday April 16th from 1-4 p.m. at the Wheaton Community Rec Center and Park.
The family-friendly event will include activities to learn about dating violence, consent, how to help a friend, what the warning signs are and what the resources are in the community. There will also be performances, FREE food, yoga and self-defense demos, raffle prizes, a resource fair with other community organizations, and story-time at the Wheaton Library.
The festival will also announce the winners of the Choose Respect Video Contest! (This year there are more than 300 submissions of PSA type videos and in most cases, multiple students worked on each one. Top prize is $1000) MCPS students can earn up to 8 SSL hours by participating in the education activities. If you’re curious to see previous videos, you can view past winners videos here: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/fjc/chooserespect/video.html
Per the The State’s Attorney’s Office Special Victims Division: The office is highlighting the fact that with stalking crimes, intervention can prevent violence. An estimated 13.5 million people are stalked annually in the United States according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced stalking. https://www.stalkingawareness.org/ is a great resource, and the Montgomery County Family Justice Center can help if you are being stalked by a current or former intimate partner. Educate yourself on stalking related laws in Maryland:
MD. CODE ANN. § 3-802 (WEST 2021). STALKING
(a) In this section, “stalking” means a malicious course of conduct that includes approaching or pursuing another where:
(1) the person intends to place or knows or reasonably should have known the conduct would place another in reasonable fear:
(i) 1. of serious bodily injury;
2. of an assault in any degree;
3. of rape or sexual offense as defined by §§ 3-303 through 3-308 of this title or attempted rape or sexual offense in any degree;
4. of false imprisonment; or
5. of death; or
(ii) that a third person likely will suffer any of the acts listed in item (i) of this item; or
(2) the person intends to cause or knows or reasonably should have known that the conduct would cause serious emotional distress to another.
Scope of section
(b) The provisions of this section do not apply to conduct that is:
(1) performed to ensure compliance with a court order;
(2) performed to carry out a specific lawful commercial purpose; or
(3) authorized, required, or protected by local, State, or federal law.
(c) A person may not engage in stalking.
(d) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.
(e) A sentence imposed under this section may be separate from and consecutive to or concurrent with a sentence for any other crime based on the acts establishing a violation of this section.
Statement of Charges, per the Montgomery County State’s Attorney: “On 12/8/22 at 3:00 PM, Montgomery County Police responded to a convenience store at the Shell Gas station located at 11150 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland for a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found the victim, Ayalew Wondimu, a black male with date of birth of 11/6/61, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Investigation revealed the victim was working inside the store, behind the register when he was shot. Wondimu was pronounced deceased on the scene.
Your affiant (Detective Dimitry Ruvin) reviewed surveillance video from inside and outside the store. The video showed the suspect entering the store at 2:58PM. The suspect selected a soft drink and then approached the victim, who was standing behind the cash register. The suspect appeared to have a conversation with the victim and then picked up several items from on top of the counter and threw them at the victim. The victim picked up a pole and attempted to strike the suspect. The suspect then backed up and produced a handgun and fired at the victim.
The victim fell down behind the register. The suspect then approached the counter, leaned over and fired several more shots into the victim’s body. The suspect then picked up the soft drink and left the store. Torrey Damien Moore, a black male with date of birth of 4/13/91, was developed as a suspect and your affiant obtained an arrest warrant charging the suspect with First Degree Murder (CR 2-201) and Use of a Firearm in a Felony / Violent Crime (CR 4-204 (b)).
Your affiant also obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s residence located at 11235 Oak Leaf Drive, Apartment 809, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland. The search warrant was served on 12/9/22. The suspect was arrested inside the residence. A Jimenez Arms semiautomatic handgun was recovered from the residence during the execution of the search warrant. A body of a deceased female was discovered on the floor of the bedroom of the apartment residence. The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition.
The suspect was transported to the Montgomery County Police headquarters, advised of his Miranda rights and interviewed. The suspect confessed to going to the store in question, engaging in an altercation with the store clerk and shooting him. The suspect was asked about the deceased female in his apartment and he stated that it was his girlfriend, Denise Middleton, a black female with date of birth of 3/14/96.
While talking to the suspect, your affiant discussed a possibility that Denise Middleton was shot with the same gun as victim, Ayalew Wondimu, at the gas station store. The suspect responded, “I’m pretty positive she was shot with the same gun”
‘The suspect stated that he briefly left the residence and when he returned he discovered the victim deceased and found a gun in his residence. He later used this gun to shoot the store’s clerk. The suspect denied killing the victim, Denise Middleton. Your affiant asked the suspect to go over the circumstances surrounding Denise Middleton’s death and he described the following:
Sometime in October of 2022, the suspect responded to New York City to bring Denise Middleton back to Maryland. When asked to narrow the timeframe, the suspect stated he left for New York right after he contacted the Montgomery County Police about a vandalism to his apartment door. Montgomery County police records showed that he filed that report on 10/5/22. The suspect stated the two returned back to Montgomery County from New York city shortly thereafter. On the day of Denise Middleton’s death, they left the apartment to get food. According to the suspect he began arguing with Denise Middleton on the way back to the apartment. The suspect stated, “I pushed her down” in front of his apartment residence. The suspect stated Denise Middleton was “acing like I was trying to kill her”. The suspect stated he told Denise Middleton to “get off the ground” and “stop putting on a show”. The suspect stated once at the residence, Denise Middleton was “still kirking out a little bit.” The suspect stated, “a slap was probably thrown” and “I probably choked her a little bit. The suspect stated he and Denise Middleton then went into the bedroom and that he was trying to calm Denise Middleton down. The suspect stated he then left to buy some marijuana. The suspect stated he returned within an hour and discovered Denise Middleton deceased. When asked if Denise Middleton had any gun shot wounds or other wounds the suspect stated that he was not sure. The suspect further stated that Denise Middleton was pregnant and that she told him that the baby was his. The suspect stated that the baby was due in October and that it was a boy. The suspect continued to deny killing Denise Middleton. The suspect also stated a few days after discovering Denise Middleton deceased, he travelled to California and stayed there for over a month. He recently returned back to Maryland and to his residence.
Your affiant wants to note the following about the ballistic evidence in this case. Four (4) FC 9mm luger spent shell casings were recovered at the Shell gas station store scene. The handgun recovered in the suspect’s residence contained one (1) live FC 9mm luger round in the chamber and six (6) rounds in the handgun’s magazine. Two (2) spent FC 9mm luger shell casings were found near Denise Middleton’s body.
On 12/10/22, your affiant attended the autopsy conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) for the State of Maryland. Your affiant learned Denise Middleton was shot seven (7) times and several projectiles were recovered from her body. A male fetus was discovered during the autopsy. Your affiant was advised by a forensic pathologist that the fetus was viable.
The suspect’s criminal history includes arrests for Armed Robbery, First and Second Degree Assaults, Robbery with Deadly Weapon, Kidnapping, CDS Possession with Intent to Distribute, Loaded handgun on person and other charges. Your affiant also learned the suspect was currently wanted for an aggravated assault on victim Denise Middleton from Norfolk, Virginia. Your affiant obtained a police report dated 6/2/22 from Norfolk Police. In that case, Denise Middleton told police that the suspect “had punched and then choked her for about three minutes to the point she could not breath”.
Based on the above stated facts, your affiant has probable cause to believe that the suspect, Torrey Moore, murdered the victim, Denise Middleton. Your affiant further believes in doing so, the suspect caused the death of a viable fetus. Based on the above stated facts, your affiant requests an arrest warrant be issued for Torrey Damien Moore charging him with First Degree Murder (CR 2-201) (Victim – Denise Middleton) and Murder or Manslaughter of Viable Fetus (CR 2-103).
The above stated events occurred in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland.”
After reviewing the report by the Office of Court-Ordered Evaluations and Placements (OCEP) within the Department of Health (MDH), Judge Amy Bills ruled last week that Moore is not competent to stand trial and is scheduled a date for a competency hearing on June 13th, 2023. She also scheduled a preliminary hearing for January 6th, 2023.
FBI agent Eduardo Valdivia has been found not guilty by a jury on Friday after he was charged with attempted murder for an off-duty shooting that occurred on a Metro train in Bethesda on December 15, 2020.
According to Fox 5, “Valdivia was on a Red Line train near the Medical Center station in Bethesda on December 15, 2020 when a man allegedly approached him and asked for money. A confrontation developed after Valdivia said no, and the man reportedly muttered expletives while turning away. A video of the incident, released on Wednesday, shows Valdivia fire and shoot the man from close range. The man stumbles and sits in a seat while a nearby passenger moves away from the area. Both Valdivia and the man exit the train.” The man was taken to Suburban Hospital and survived. The video released, which can be seen below, has no audio.
Metro surveillance video released showing 2020 shooting by FBI agent onboard train in Bethesda GRAPHIC VIDEO | DISCRETION ADVISED: Surveillance video from inside a Metrorail train showing an FBI agent shooting a man who confronted him while he was on his way to work nearly two years ago has been released. (Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office)