- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2002

BALTIMORE The man charged with shooting a priest he says molested him as a teen-ager was denied bail yesterday and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation.
Dontee D. Stokes, 26, asked to be released so he could see his 20-month-old daughter and the rest of his family, assuring a judge: "I just want to say I'm not a flight risk and I'm not at risk to myself. Although I may be depressed, I'm not suicidal."
"What you're saying, Mr. Stokes, might be true, but I'd be more comfortable hearing what the doctor says," Judge H. Gary Bass replied.
The judge scheduled another bail review for 2 p.m. tomorrow.
An investigator at the Central Booking and Intake Center told Judge Bass that Mr. Stokes had attempted suicide in 1996. Mr. Stokes corrected her, saying he tried to kill himself in 1993 or 1994.
Mr. Stokes' attorney, Thomas McNicholas, described the suicide attempt as "an aberration," although he said the recent news about the child sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church "triggered all these emotions" in Mr. Stokes.
Mr. Stokes shot the Rev. Maurice Blackwell outside the priest's home Monday after the priest refused to talk to him, police said. Mr. Stokes was frustrated because he was unable to get an apology from the priest, said his mother, Tamara Stokes.
Mr. Stokes turned himself in Monday night to police after walking into a service at Gillis Memorial Christian Community Church and telling a clergyman he had shot Father Blackwell, police said. He was charged with attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault and gun violations.
Mr. Stokes appeared in court yesterday by video transmission from the Central Booking and Intake Center. The courtroom was packed with members of Mr. Stokes' family, friends and reporters.
Mr. McNicholas asked Judge Bass to release Mr. Stokes until his trial. He said Mr. Stokes was not a flight or suicide risk because he had family in Baltimore and a steady job as a barber and did not have a criminal record.
"He's lived an exemplary life up until these allegations," Mr. McNich-olas said.
Sylvester Cox, an assistant state's attorney, asked the judge to keep Mr. Stokes in jail. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said it has a policy of requesting no bail in cases in which there is evidence of a deliberate attempt to kill someone.
Father Blackwell, 56, remained in serious condition yesterday at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He was shot in the left hand and twice near the left hip.
If convicted of first-degree attempted murder, Mr. Stokes would face a maximum sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole.
Another attorney for Mr. Stokes, Robert Joyce, said he is setting up a legal defense fund to handle donations coming in from across the country.


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