- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2001

Prince George's County Police believe that five men charged with the double murder of a Maryland couple were involved in organized criminal activity — including theft, armed robbery and carjackings — in Fort Washington and other sections of the county.
Police Chief John S. Farrell called the June 10 slayings of Michael Patten, 29, of Waldorf, and Lea Anne Brown, 24, a Navy petty officer stationed at Fort Myer, the most brutal crime he has seen in 30 years. The pair was beaten, stuffed in the trunk and driven to Accokeek, where they were shot in the back of the head and their bodies dumped.
Police said they were able to tie the suspects to the killings as they investigated two other carjackings, a liquor store robbery, and two shootings dating back to June 5. Chief Farrell said extensive forensic evidence links the suspects to the crimes.
"Some of the crimes we are currently investigating, dating back to January, may have involved this group of men," said Prince George's County Deputy State's Attorney Robert Dean.
Police began making arrests Wednesday as they executed search warrants in Fort Washington.
"I have been to Fort Washington. The residents are angry and so am I," said Prince George's County State's Attorney Jack Johnson.
Three of the five men charged with the killings were arraigned yesterday on first-degree murder charges and multiple other charges, while two others await arraignment today.
Marco Scutchings, 18; Robert Odum Jr., 23; and Cortez Carroll, 22, will be held without bond to await a preliminary hearing on July 26. Eric Thomas, 22, and Aaron Hollingsworth, 18, will be arraigned today.
Mr. Scutchings, Mr. Odum and Mr. Carroll all live in the 1200 block of Lampton Lane, a fact that prompted some to believe they may be part of an organized gang, Mr. Johnson said.
"But I don't want to categorize them as a gang, because we don't know yet that they were all working together at the same time in all of the crimes," he said.
"They are evil men who only care about themselves. And even today I saw no remorse. What I saw were selfish attitudes. … This case definitely merits the death penalty," Mr. Johnson said. He did not specify whether the state would seek that level of punishment.
In addition to the murder charges, Mr. Carroll faces six counts of attempted carjacking, and first- and second-degree assault; Mr. Odum faces two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of robbery; and Mr. Scutchings faces one count of armed robbery and theft. All of the men also were charged with the use of a firearm in a violent crime.
"One of the carjackings took place hours before the murders, and the liquor store robbery took place hours before that, all occurring on the same day," Mr. Dean said.
A sixth man, Corey Peterson, 19, also was charged with attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping in a June 9 carjacking, but was released yesterday.
"We are continuing to investigate these men, and at present we do not have enough evidence to connect Mr. Peterson to the murders or any of the other crimes that took place that day. But I am not willing to say that he had nothing to do with any of this just yet," Mr. Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson went on to say that there may be more suspects, and that the investigation will continue beyond the five men already in custody.
"When you have this many people involved in a case, you try to weed through the mesh in order to put the puzzle together," he said.
After leaving a D.C. club June 10, Petty Officer Brown and Mr. Patten stopped outside a Fort Washington church, where police believe the men confronted the two and beat them. They then stuffed the bodies into the trunk of Mr. Patten's car, drove them to Accokeek, shot them execution-style and left their bodies in a wooded area, police said. A passerby discovered the bodies later that afternoon, according to police.

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