Charles County Sheriff’s detectives have identified and arrested the suspect in the homicide of John Ercell Staton, 54, of Newburg, who was shot and killed on December 10 in the 100 block of Smallwood Village Center in Waldorf. The suspect, Fred Odell Scott Sr., 55, of Waldorf, was arrested on December 12 and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, use of a firearm during the commission of a crime and other related charges. He is being held with no bond at the Charles County Detention Center. The suspect and victim were known to each other. The investigation is ongoing.
LA PLATA, MD—Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Thursday, December 12, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier sentenced Miguel Angel Santana, 29 of Waldorf, to life in prison for Conspiracy to Commit the First-Degree Murder of Lydell Wood and Possession of a Firearm with a Disqualifying Crime.
On April 3, 2019, a Charles County jury found Santana guilty of the above-mentioned charges.
On January 6, 2016, officers responded to the 2600 block of Rooks Head Place in Waldorf for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found one victim, Lydell Wood, with a single gunshot wound in his back. The victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.
An investigation into the shooting revealed that an acquaintance of Wood got into a confrontation with Santana earlier that day while Wood and other men were present. The acquaintance brandished a handgun and shot at Santana. Wood had no involvement in the shooting. Santana fled the area unharmed and contacted co-defendant Antonio Ka-Juan Owens to help him retaliate.
Santana and Owens returned to the area in search of the person who shot at Santana earlier in the day. When Wood was spotted, Santana and Owens confronted him. Wood ran away after both men brandished guns. Santana and Owens gave chase and fired several gunshots, striking Wood in the back as he attempted to find safety and enter a house in the neighborhood. After the shooting, both men fled the area.
Santana was later identified as one of the shooters by witness testimony, as well as other extensive corroborating evidence.
Co-defendant Owens was previously found guilty by a Charles County jury of First-Degree Murder and related charges for his involvement. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole plus 50 years in prison on August 30, 2018 by the Honorable Judge H. James West.
At sentencing, Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Beattie addressed the judge, “[the defendant] has shown a propensity for violence. Mr. Santana is a violent and dangerous person. There’s no other way to spin it. The only thing to look at is his history – and that is a very horrifying and dismal picture. The State asks that Your Honor incapacitates the defendant for as long as humanly possible to ensure he does not victimize anyone else in this community or another [community].”
Prior to his conviction for this case, Santana was convicted for the first-degree murder of another victim. Santana is serving life plus 105 years in a prison for that case.
Leonardtown. MD – The St. Mary’s County Regional Airport is planning a series of events to celebrate 50 years of service to the community. The original airport properties were acquired in August 1968, construction was completed in 1969, and the Airport was in operation before the end of that year. 2020 will mark 50 years of operation.
Planned events include pilot safety forums, a taxiway 5k run, and several fly-in breakfasts. All events are free and will take place at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport located at 44200 Airport Road, California, MD. The kickoff event is Saturday, December 21, 2019 with a Holiday Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a fly-in from Santa Claus at 10 a.m. John Deatrick, Director of Public Works and Transportation stated “The anniversary of the airport is a yearlong celebration to showcase this terrific facility and the all of the unique services, job opportunities and learning environments available. St. Mary’s County Regional Airport is more than a hub for transportation, it is rapidly becoming a center for community resources mirrored in the events we’ve put together to commemorate the 50th anniversary.”
For more information on the airport, please visit www.stmarysmd.com/dpw/airport-operations/
On December 12 at 3:37 a.m., officers from the Prince George’s County Police Department responded to the area of Accokeek Road near Gardiner Road in Accokeek, MD for the report of a woman walking in the roadway. When officers arrived, the woman reported she had been abducted from her home in Waldorf at 7:30 p.m. on December 11 by a man who was already inside her residence. The man forced the victim into her car and he drove her to various ATMs where he forced the victim to withdraw money. The man then left the woman on the roadside on Gardiner Road and fled. Shortly after, the suspect backed the victim’s car into the front doors of the Waldorf AMF bowling alley on Acton Lane. He got out of the car, walked toward the ATM inside the business but left after realizing the ATM was not operable. He left in the victim’s vehicle and has not been located. The CCSO is asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect and locating the victim’s car. The suspect is described as a male with a light complexion, between 20-30 years old, approximately 5’8” with a medium build. The victim’s vehicle is a 2010 black four-door Toyota Camry with Maryland registration plates 6BM 3802; it has damage to the rear of the car. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective H. Burgess at (301) 609-6494. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app. A cash reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. The investigation is ongoing.
Leonardtown, MD – The 20th Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival was honored as the only event in Maryland to win one of four statewide awards at the 39th annual Maryland Tourism & Travel Summit on November 7, 2019 in Allegany County, Maryland. The award was accepted by Dale Springer, President of the Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums; Andrew Ponti, Marketing Manager of the St. Mary’s County Museum Division; Jason Aul, Executive Director of Visit St. Mary’s MD; and the Town of Leonardtown, all of whom were partners in guaranteeing the success of the multi-day weekend event.
The 20th Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival won the “Maximizing Opportunities Award.” The recipients of this award are recognized for successfully taking advantage of an existing event to generate overnight stays. The festival expanded from a one-day Saturday event into a three-day weekend celebration by partnering with the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, the Town of Leonardtown, the Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums, and Visit St. Mary’s MD.
The four partner organizations who won the “Maximizing Opportunities Award” worked for nearly a year prior with organizations and businesses throughout St. Mary’s County and beyond to make the 20th anniversary a success. Representatives were even chosen to appear on two Baltimore-area news stations with the Maryland Office of Tourism to promote the festival as part of Maryland’s larger “Summer of Music Series” to encourage music lovers from all over the mid-Atlantic to visit.
“This award is a huge testament to how relationships and working well together for a common goal can eventually reap great rewards,” says Karen Stone, Manager of the St. Mary’s County Museum Division. “We are honored that the Maryland Office of Tourism recognized the efforts of partner organizations to make St. Mary’s County a premier tourism destination. The award shows that we can make a true economic impact on our state by encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more here.”
The Commissioners of Leonardtown were proud to work side-by-side with the other partners in expanding the premiere, one-day-festival at St. Clement’s Island Museum to a full weekend jazz celebration throughout historic Leonardtown. “The 20th Anniversary Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival Weekend Celebration provided a wonderful opportunity to highlight historic Leonardtown along with St. Clement’s Island Museum. Jazz enthusiasts traveled from near and far to enjoy a full weekend of jazz-themed events and special offers from the local businesses. The Commissioners of Leonardtown are excited to continue this fruitful partnership with the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, the Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums, and Visit St. Mary’s MD.” says Brandy Blackstone, Public Relations & Events Coordinator for the Commissioners of Leonardtown. Brandy Blackstone and Laschelle McKay, Town Administrator for the Commissioners of Leonardtown, accepted the Town’s award at the December 9, 2019 Town Council Meeting.
The county’s tourism organization, Visit St. Mary’s MD, helped to promote the event and engage local businesses, hotels, and restaurants with the weekend activities. “The year-over-year increase in hotel occupancy for this festival exemplifies how our collaborative efforts are helping to bring in more visitors,” said Jason Aul, Executive Director of Visit St. Mary’s MD. “With everyone working together, we were able to showcase more of our beautiful county than ever before.”
The 2019 Maryland Tourism Awards, given by the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism Development and the Maryland Tourism Development Board, recognize excellence and major contributions in expanding the market of Maryland tourism products, maximizing opportunities to generate overnight stays, leveraging partnerships, and showcasing Maryland as an exciting, must-see tourism destination.
The partners are now hard at work planning the 21st Annual Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival Weekend to take place the weekend of July 10 – 12, 2020.
For more information about the Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival, please visit www.PotomacJazzAndSeafoodFestival.com or contact Andrew Ponti, Marketing Manager, St. Mary’s County Museum Division, at Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on tourism group sales, please contact Gail Perry, Sales Lead, Visit St. Mary’s MD at Gail@VisitStMarysMD.com.
The Friends of St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Museums raise funds in order to support historical interpretation, education programs and special needs of the sites managed by the Museum Division of St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks. The Friends organization is a 501(c) 3 organization sponsoring events, assisting with acquisitions and supporting efforts to broaden the understanding of our culture and community's heritage.
Leonardtown, MD – All St. Mary’s County Government administrative offices will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 25, and Thursday, Dec. 26, for the Christmas holiday. Offices will reopen Friday, Dec. 27. Offices will also be closed Wednesday, Jan. 1, and Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, for the new year’s holiday. Offices will reopen Friday, Jan. 3.
All three Senior Activity Centers (Garvey, Loffler and Northern) will be closed Dec. 25 and 26 for Christmas and Jan. 1 and 2, 2020, for new year’s. No Home-Delivered Meals deliveries will be made on these dates.
The St. Clements Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas. The museums will be open Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 from noon – 4 p.m.
All St. Mary’s County Library locations (Charlotte Hall, Leonardtown and Lexington Park) will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 and Jan. 1 for the holidays. All library locations will close at 5 p.m. Dec. 31.
The St. Mary’s Transit System (STS) System will operate until 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, be closed Dec. 25, and return to a regular operating schedule Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. STS will be closed Jan. 1 and return to a regular operating schedule Jan. 2.
The Statewide Specialized Transit System (SSTAP) service will operate Monday, Dec. 23, be closed Dec. 24 and 25, and return to normal service Thursday, Dec. 26. SSTAP service will be unavailable Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, and will return to regular service, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.
The St. Andrews Landfill and six (6) Convenience Centers will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, and Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. Additionally, the six (6) convenience centers will open early for operations Thursday, Dec. 26, and Friday, Dec. 27, at 8 a.m., The purpose of opening early is a convenience to our customers and allows us to be able to accommodate the increased usage of the facilities by County residents during the busiest holiday season. The Landfill hours of operation will remain unchanged during these two days (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). The convenience centers and landfill will return to regular operating hours Saturday, Dec. 28.
As a reminder, Christmas trees can be dropped off at the Landfill and Convenience Centers free of charge. Undecorated trees may be placed in the designated areas at these sites beginning Dec. 26, 2019, continuing through Jan. 31, 2020. Last year, the County collected nearly 2 tons of Christmas trees, which were mixed with the collected yard waste and ground into mulch. Just over 5 thousand tons of mulch is available annually at the St. Andrews Landfill site and is provided to the citizens of St. Mary’s County free of charge while supplies last.
Monday afternoon at 4:26 p.m. fifteen firefighters from the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire at a one story single family dwelling on Grand Road in Mechanicsville. It took them fifteen minutes to control the blaze. The fire originated in the living room of the home. The home was vacant and there was no electric power to the home at the time of the fire. There were no injures as a result of this incident. Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Southern Regional Office, at 443-550-6835. The estimated total loss in the fire is $200,000.
On December 10 at 3:09 p.m., officers responded to the 100 block of Smallwood Village Center in Waldorf for the report of a shooting. A preliminary investigation revealed the suspect and victim were involved in an altercation in the parking lot of the shopping center when the suspect produced a handgun and shot the victim multiple times. The suspect then fled in a gray vehicle. The victim, John Ercell Staton, 54, of Newburg, was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Detectives are pursuing leads. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective J. Feldman at (301) 609-6474. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app. A cash reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for the tip that leads to an arrest in this case. The investigation is ongoing.