A Hagerstown man charged in a January armed home invasion was found not guilty Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court, but his suspected accomplice will never be tried, having been shot dead in his Linwood Road home in March.
Richard Dane Small, 27, of 412 Reynolds Ave., was charged with first- and second-degree assault, burglary, reckless endangerment, use of a handgun in a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a handgun in the Jan. 14 incident at an apartment in the 300 block of West Side Drive.
Randy Taylor, the resident of the apartment, testified that on the night of Jan. 14, a man knocked on the door of his apartment. The man was holding a $100 bill in his left hand and asked if “Big Ma” lived there, he testified.
Taylor testified he told the man he did not know anyone by that name and the man left. A few minutes later, however, there was another knock at the door, and when he opened it, two armed men rushed in.
Taylor testified they both appeared to have handguns, although he later said one of the weapons looked like it could have been a stun gun.
Taylor testified he yelled up to his fiancée to get out and call police, and he then pushed both intruders outside and locked the door.
Hagerstown Police Department Detective Jason Dietz testified that police learned the names of the men involved were Rich and I.C.
Detective Nick Varner testified he showed Taylor a photo array on Jan. 18 from which he immediately picked out Small.
“The hairs on my arm stood up on end ... when I saw the picture of one of the assailants,” Taylor testified.
“There’s no question Mr. Small was in the foyer with that other individual,” Assistant State’s Attorney Gina Cirincion said in her closing argument. She also told the jury that the other man, I.C., later was identified as Alfarad Evans.
Evans, 35, was shot multiple times while in bed at his Linwood Road home on March 26, according to Hagerstown police. The three male intruders were not identified and the case remains unsolved.
“Eyewitness identifications can be very troubling. That’s because it’s based on human nature,” Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden told the jury in his closing argument. “The only thing the state has is a person pointing at a photograph.”
Creeden pointed to the vague description of the suspects in Taylor’s written statement, and police reports and inconsistencies in Taylor’s testimony, including physical descriptions and how many photo arrays he was shown by police.
“There is actually evidence that is exculpatory,” Creeden said. “I don’t get that too often.”
Taylor testified the intruders wore gloves, and a pair of gloves was found near his home. DNA was recovered from the gloves and tested, but it did not match Small’s DNA.
“You don’t have DNA everywhere you touch,” Cirincion told the jury.