- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009



Teen pleads guilty in weapons case

A Bethesda teenager faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to possession of a destructive device.

Collin McKenzie-Gude, 19, was accused of stockpiling weapons and bomb-making material and producing fake government IDs. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors are dropping two counts related to the IDs.

Investigators said they found assault weapons, armor-piercing bullets and more than 50 pounds of chemicals in McKenzie-Gude’s bedroom in July 2008. They also said he had a fake CIA badge, another fake government ID and a map of the Camp David presidential retreat.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7 at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

Defense attorney Steven Kupferberg said the teen didn’t intend to harm anyone.


Woman charged with kidnapping

Anne Arundel County police charged a 50-year-old woman with kidnapping a 4-year-old boy after officers say she picked up the child and tried to walk off with him.

Leslie Banker Offutt of Jessup is charged with kidnapping, second-degree assault and other offenses.

Police said the boy was playing near his mother’s car about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday while she waited for a school bus on Clark Road in Jessup. Officers said a woman went to the boy, picked him up and began to walk away with him.

The child demanded to be released, the woman did and left the area. Police arrested Miss Offutt at her home.


Man pleads guilty in motel standoff

A South Carolina man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Hagerstown to charges stemming from a two-day standoff with police at a motel.

James Prevatt, 27, of Moncks Corner, S.C., pleaded guilty to threatening arson and marijuana possession.

He also pleaded guilty to five burglary counts for break-ins leading up to the motel standoff.

Prevatt was arrested by police who stormed his room at the America’s Best Value Inn in Hancock in August 2008.

His 22-year-old girlfriend, Rene Reynolds, also of Moncks Corner, pleaded guilty earlier this year to crimes that included pretending to be Prevatt’s hostage during the motel episode.

Prevatt was wanted for burglaries and thefts in Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and Massachusetts at the time of the standoff.


Woman sentenced in mortgage fraud

A woman was sentenced Wednesday to nearly four years in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Cheryl Brooke, 52, of Upper Marlboro also had a preliminary forfeiture judgment of more than $2 million entered against her Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Brooke and others aired television advertisements that offered to help people improve their credit, and save their homes from foreclosure. However, the defendants took control of the homes and then failed to pay mortgages on them, causing the original owners to default.


Drug-dealing case involves high school

Montgomery County police arrested a man they say sent text messages to high school students during the school day to arrange drug deals.

Arian Mohammadi, 18, of Rockville was arrested Tuesday at a shopping center next to Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda. He has been charged with possession of marijuana in sufficient quantity for intent to distribute and other drug offenses. He was being held on $50,000 bond.

Police said Mr. Mohammadi, who graduated last year from Walter Johnson High, had been seen acting suspiciously in areas near the school during lunch periods. Officers said when he was arrested, Mr. Mohammadi was in his SUV with three other teenagers, two of whom were Johnson High students. They were not charged.


Security grants cleared for state

Maryland is getting $6 million in federal stimulus funds to help build an Anne Arundel County fire station and for port security initiatives.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski announced the grants in Baltimore on Wednesday.

Maryland will receive $4.1 million to protect critical infrastructure in the Port of Baltimore area and $1.9 million to replace a fire station in Glen Burnie.



Slain mother, teen were in counseling

A criminal justice professor and her teen daughter who authorities think were slain by a horrorcore rapper were in counseling over the girl’s obsession with the macabre music, and a former colleague said the mother took the girl to concerts in an attempt to keep an eye on her.

James Hodgson had worked closely with professor Debra Kelley at Longwood University in Farmville and knew her daughter, Emma Niederbrock, most of her life. They were found dead Friday along with Emma’s father, Mark Niederbrock, who was separated from Mrs. Kelley, and Emma’s friend Melanie Wells.

Police have charged Emma’s boyfriend, 20-year-old Richard “Sammy” McCroskey III, with first-degree murder in Mark Niederbrock’s death. Mr. McCroskey, who rapped under the name “Syko Sam,” is also suspected of killing the others.


Winning ticket soon to be worthless

A $250,000 winning lottery ticket is about to become worthless.

The ticket matched the first five numbers but missed the Mega Ball in the March 27 Mega Millions drawing. The ticket will expire if it is not claimed by 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Virginia Lottery said the ticket was bought at a suburban Richmond 7-Eleven.

The winning numbers are 10-15-24-38-50 and the Mega Ball is 19.

If nobody claims the prize, the money will go to the state Literary Fund.


Arrests made in ‘08 homicide

Fairfax County police said two men have been arrested and charged with murder in the 2008 killing of a Herndon woman.

In November, police found the body of Erika Yancey, 22, in her car. Authorities said she died of stab wounds to her upper body.

On Monday, police arrested Michael Thomas, 27, of Bladensburg and charged him with murder in the case.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Task Force arrested Marcus Williams, 28, in Sterling Heights, Mich. He also has been charged with murder in the Yancey case.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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