Man indicted for string of Forestville homicides in fall 2008; Suspect had violated probation at time of Walters Lane deaths.
Gazette, 23 Jan 2009 (Holzheimer ).
A grand jury indicted a Washington, D.C., man Thursday for the deaths of three people in less than two weeks in 2008 on the same block in Forestville.Question: Why, did our so-called justice system allow this person, with a record of robbery with a deadly weapon less than a year earlier, out on the street to prey on us some more? Why? And who was responsible for dropping all the other charges?
According to the 18-count indictment, Sylvester Charles Mitchell, 21, of 87 Galveston St. S.E., fatally shot 29-year-old Forestville resident Maurice Stanley on Oct. 28 in the 3300 block of Walters Lane, an area that consists of a church, an apartment complex and a strip mall. Five days later, he shot Huntingtown resident Levar Jones and St. Leonard resident Larry Johnson, 28, on the same block, according to the indictment.
Mitchell was arrested Nov. 20 in the District.
At the time of the shootings, Mitchell was serving probation for allegedly committing theft, assault and robbery with a deadly weapon Dec. 18, 2007, according to online court records. The court dropped all the charges in September, except for one count of robbery with a deadly weapon, and Mitchell was released under supervised probation.
On Oct. 15, a warrant was issued for Mitchell's arrest, according to the records. Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office, confirmed Mitchell violated his probation.
The indictment also accuses Mitchell of assault, stealing Stanley's wallet and keys, stealing handguns from Johnson and Jones and illegally possessing a firearm after being convicted of a violent crime.
A trial date has not been set, but the trial should begin within the next six months, Korionoff said.
Efforts to contact Mitchell's family, victims' relatives or the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland, which is representing Mitchell, were not successful by press time.
The deaths brought the number of murders on Walters Lane to four between Nov. 4, 2007 and Nov. 4, 2008, up from zero the year before, according to police records. The increase in violence came as murders declined countywide.
Police responded to the shootings by increasing their patrols and community outreach efforts tenfold, according to Maj. Joseph McCann, commander of the county's Police District 3, which patrols the area.
Lt. Michael Straughn, commander of the county's homicide unit, has said critical information in the case came from residents who responded to police outreach efforts.