- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A second man pleaded guilty Wednesday to the relatively new crime of operating a dance hall without a license in Prince George’s County, according to court records.

Jerome Tillery, 52, is one of four operators of the Capitol Heights-area nightclub Music, Sports and Games, who were charged with the misdemeanor crime after a teenage girl was shot and killed outside the club this summer.

After the Aug. 8 shooting, Prince George’s County police invoked what then was only a two-week-old law to padlock the club and criminally charge four of the operators.

While the crime is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, Mr. Tillery was sentenced to six months of probation, online Maryland District Court records state.

A manager of the club, Ronald Dixon, also pleaded guilty to the single charge in December and was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation.

Two other men, Darryl Robinson and Eric Pickens, who were also charged as part of the same incident had their hearings postponed until Jan. 18, attorney William Sherman said. Mr. Sherman said he needed time to explore how entering a guilty plea in this case could affect potential civil litigation against the men.

Law enforcement and government officials have praised the dance hall legislation as a way to reduce crime in the county as it enables the quick closure of clubs that are the scene of a violent incident.

Club owners have countered that officials have been unfair in their enforcement of the law, but have thus far been unable to successfully challenge the enforcement in court.

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