For Immediate Release

November 16, 2022


FREDERICK, MD – The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office is pleased to announce the arrival of its new asset in crime fighting here in the County. Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) K9 Duke and his handler SAO Investigator Justin Walters recently returned from a two-week training in Indianapolis, Indiana, where they received certification as an electronic detection K9 team.


ESD K9s are trained to detect and alert their handler on the presence of a chemical compound found on all electronic circuit boards called triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO). Examples of electronics with circuit boards include laptops, cell phones, and hard drives.


The ESD K9 team will have a focus on investigations of the Frederick County Cyber Crimes Task Force, which handles Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) cases within the County. K9 Duke and his handler will be a tremendous asset in ensuring that digital devices are successfully recovered during the execution of search warrants. SAO Investigator Walters commented, “It is such a rewarding feeling to know that K9 Duke and I will help make a difference in bringing justice to some of the most innocent and vulnerable victims.”


Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a non-profit organization that works to protect children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, provided funding for purchase of the K9, training, initial certification fees, travel, lodging, and per diem expenses for the handler during the two-week training course. O.U.R. will continue to support the K9 team by funding annual recertification for the ESD K9, approved veterinary bills during the entirety of the dog’s service, equipment/gear, and a monthly food stipend for the life of the K9.


State’s Attorney Charlie Smith added, “We are grateful to O.U.R. for this partnership. There is no doubt that this team will help bolster investigations, which in turn will lead to convictions and ultimately holding internet predators accountable behind bars where they belong.”



November 4, 2022


FREDERICK, MD – Sentencing occurred today for Darin Tyler Robey, age 21, of Frederick who was found guilty by a Frederick County jury in August 2022 of Second-Degree Murder, Use of a Firearm in a Crime of Violence, and Possessing a Firearm Under Age 21.  The murder happened on December 26, 2021, when officers with the Frederick Police Department were dispatched to the Burger King located at 101 Routzahn Way for a report of a shooting. Responding officers located the victim laying in the front entrance to the Burger King with severe injuries as the result of two gunshot wounds. CPR was performed until EMS arrived on scene. Regrettably, the victim Jaion Penamon, age 21, died of his injuries at the scene.

The State believes that Robey came to the Burger King that evening to confront his then girlfriend who works there. The victim witnessed this confrontation and tried to intervene.  When Penamon asked Robey to take it outside, Robey abruptly shot him twice in the chest then fled from the scene.  He was later apprehended.  His gun and phone were never located.

At sentencing, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith argued for over an hour as to why Robey was deserving of the maximum allowable sentence of 60 years (40 years for Second Degree Murder; 20 years for Firearm/Crime of Violence).  Smith stated during sentencing that “the most egregious second-degree murders deserve the harshest sentences.  Robey lacked remorse from the second he pulled the trigger, to when he stepped over Jaion’s dying body and casually walked away, until today.”  Unfortunately, Smith’s presentation was interrupted when fights broke out in the courtroom between families of the victim and defendant necessitating a lockdown of the courtrooms and other parts of the courthouse.  The sentencing resumed an hour later when Judge Scott L. Rolle heard from members of the victim’s family and from the Defense.  Robey was then sentenced to a total of 60 years in the Division of Corrections, with 15 years suspended, for a total of 45 years active incarceration. Upon release, Robey will be under 5 years of supervised probation.

The State was represented by Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith and ASA Ricky Lewis.



October 7, 2022


FREDERICK, MD – This morning in Frederick County Circuit Court, Joshua Eckenrode, age 20, of Frederick was sentenced by Judge Julie Stevenson Solt to a Life sentence with all but forty years suspended in the Division of Corrections on one count of first-degree murder and a consecutive suspended fifty-one-year sentence on a multiple count indictment of possession of a destructive device, possession of explosives without a license, and related weapons charges. Eckenrode entered binding guilty pleas in the March 2021 death of Curtis Mason Smith. The binding nature of the guilty plea agreement means that the sentence cannot be modified unless all parties agree. Upon release from incarceration, Eckenrode must serve five years of supervised probation including all standard conditions, education, evaluation, and testing for substance abuse, abstain from alcohol and controlled dangerous substances and abusive use and illegal possession of prescription drugs, random drug and alcohol testing, mental health evaluation and any treatment as directed, have no contact with the victim’s family and stay away from their residences and places of employment, and undergo GPS monitoring.

On March 19, 2021, members of the Frederick Police Department were dispatched to a missing person’s report in the city of Frederick. Later that night Curtis Mason Smith was entered into the National Crime Information Center as a missing adult. On March 20, 2021, the body of Curtis Mason Smith was located in his vehicle in the area of the 8100 block of Runnymeade Drive.  He suffered a fatal gunshot wound.  Through a joint investigation, detectives determined that Eckenrode and Smith agreed to the sale of a firearm at the defendant’s residence.  During the transaction, Eckenrode fatally shot Smith.  A search and seizure warrant was authorized for the search of Eckenrode’s residence that subsequently revealed firearms, assembled explosive devices, and bomb making material.

The investigation leading to the arrest and indictments of Eckenrode was a coordinated effort led by the Frederick County Sheriff Detective Joshua Stears and Frederick Police Department Detective Tyler Deatrich. Also assisting in the investigation was the Office of the Fire Marshal of Frederick County and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The State was represented by Chief Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael J. Moore and Rebecca K. Clinton and Assistant State’s Attorney Samantha Slattery.



September 29, 2022

FREDERICK, MD – This afternoon in Frederick County Circuit Court, Jason Paul Havelt, age 44, of Ijamsville, MD plead guilty to 3 counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty, 1 Count of Possession of a Shotgun with a Prior Conviction and 1 Count of Possession of a Rifle with a Prior Conviction.  He was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Scott L. Rolle to 39 years suspend all but 12 years to serve in the Department of Corrections. Upon release, Havelt will be on 5 years of supervised probation with special conditions.

In November 2021, Detectives from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office were forwarded a complainant of a possible bestiality case from Animal Control. Detectives observed numerous screenshot pictures of a male subject conversing with another individual regarding having sexual contact with dogs. The male subject was identified to be the defendant, Jason Paul Havelt, of Ijamsville Maryland. Detectives obtained a search warrant to seize the defendant’s cellular devices to investigate the allegations further. Upon review of the defendant’s cellphone, detectives located numerous chat conversations regarding performing sexual acts on a dog, identified as the defendant’s German Shepard dog named Zeus. Detectives also located numerous videos saved and sent to others displaying the defendant performing fellatio on his dog. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s residence and located several firearms. The defendant is prohibited from possessing firearms due to a prior conviction for a crime of violence. The Defendant’s two German Shepard dogs were removed from his home by Animal Control. A civil agreement was reached returning the dogs to the Defendant’s parents as it was determined they have a healthy relationship with the dogs.

Havelt will serve 5 years of supervised probation upon release, with all standard conditions and certain special conditions such as a psycho-sexual evaluation, mental health evaluation/testing/treatment as directed, computer monitoring, forfeit the firearms and ammunition, he cannot own or possess any animals, and animal control is allowed to conduct random checks. The replevin agreement says he is not allowed within 100 feet of his parents’ home where the dogs are now.



September 26, 2022


FREDERICK, MD – The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office has been awarded a grant of $100,000 exclusively to fund treatment services for Youth with Problematic Sexual Behaviors (YPSB).   This Grant comes from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and is the first step in a larger program envisioned by the State’s Attorney’s Office to provide evidence-based rehabilitative services to youth without the need of prosecution.

Problematic Sexual Behaviors are a set of child-initiated behaviors that are developmentally inappropriate and potentially harmful to themselves or others. Obtaining treatment services for YPSB is vital in addressing the root causes of this behavior and educating youth as to what healthy sexual interactions look like and what is inappropriate.  In the last ten years, State’s Attorney’s Offices across the State have seen a rapid increase in the number of sexual offenses committed by youth and have recognized the lack of therapeutic providers specifically trained to help these youth.

This program will provide youth in Frederick County, Maryland with evidence-based intensive early intervention treatment. Research has demonstrated that sexual recidivism decreases substantially when effective treatment is provided. The program’s mission is to divert these youths from the juvenile justice system by providing evaluative and treatment services, regardless of a delinquency finding, and minimizes the likelihood that a youth will recidivate and/or become involved with the juvenile justice system.  The State’s Attorney’s Office will chair a task force of community partners who will work together to facilitate training for Maryland providers that will improve PSB treatment options for Frederick County Youth.



September 23, 2022



FREDERICK, MD – This morning in Frederick County Circuit Court, John Paul Sexton had his request to modify his sentence denied by Judge Julie Solt.  Sexton is currently serving a sentence of life plus forty years in prison for the October 1988 murder of his classmate 16-year-old Marc Uher.  Over the Governor’s veto, the Maryland Legislature passed the Juvenile Restoration Act which allows all those who have served at least twenty years of their sentence to seek modifications if they were under 18 years of age at the time of the offense.

In October 1988, Sexton used his friendship with the victim to learn how the money from the Urbana Exxon was secured every night at the close of business.   The victim, Marc Uher, had just started working at the Exxon and told his friend Sexton that when the business closed up, the employee would drive the bank bag with all the cash to the owner’s house a short distance away. On the date of the murder, Sexton came to the Exxon and hung out with Uher while Uher worked.  Sexton asked for a ride at the end of the night.  The investigation, the autopsy, and ballistic evidence proved that the gun was placed within two to three inches of Uher’s head and he was executed.   Sexton told police his hand was bumped as he was exiting the car and the shooting was an accident.   The evidence however proved that was not possibly the scenario.  After killing Uher, Sexton took Uher’s car, dumped Uher’s body and then over the next three days pretended to help look for the missing 16-year-old until he was arrested.

Many friends and Linganore classmates gathered today at the courthouse.   They reminisced about the good times they had with their friend, and how devastated they still are by the crime that shattered the community.   Numerous victim impact statements from the Linganore Community were shared with the Court by the State’s Attorney’s office.   Uher’s brother was able to participate in the hearing and shared his requests and feelings with the court as well.   Knowing what effect this this kind of modification hearing has on the victims of violent crimes is a primary reason the Juvenile Restoration Act was opposed by the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association.

State’s Attorney Charlie Smith commented, “Many people believe that these sentence reduction motions under the Juvenile Restoration Act should be automatic.  However, there are some homicides committed by juveniles that are so senseless and heinous that life sentences are very appropriate.  Sexton is one of those cases.  Juvenile Chief ASA Laura Wilt put it best, it was a carefully planned murder to merely ensure there was no witness to his robbery.  That’s cold-blooded.”

The State was represented by Chief Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Wilt.



September 23, 2022

Executive Working Group on Prosecutorial Relations

FREDERICK, MD – Founded over 40 years ago, the Executive Working Group on Prosecutorial Relations was attended by members of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), and the National Association of Attorneys General. Extensive discussions covering topics such as excessive force issues, organized retail crime, FBI behavioral analysis, and attacks on forensic science disciplines were at the forefront.  Notable attendees U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta joined the group in fostering productive dialogue among the attendees. The Executive Working Group provides a forum for open and candid exchange of ideas and concerns among federal, state, and local agencies. Frederick County, Maryland State’s Attorney Charlie Smith, President-Elect of NDAA, is one of several NDAA members, including Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and Buffalo District Attorney John Flynn.

Smith provided comments about recent developments and admissibility challenges within forensic science and what impact this has for local prosecutors. “The interplay between DOJ, Attorneys General, and State and local prosecutors can be profound, often directly affecting the outcome of cases.  That’s why this working group is so important to foster cooperation and exchange of ideas critical to good policy,” stated Smith.

Promoting cooperation and information sharing among the various levels of government is paramount in fostering an understanding of the different approaches taken by federal, state, and local law enforcement.


Frederick Caregiver Sentenced in Murder of Elderly Woman

For Immediate Release

September 2, 2022


FREDERICK, MD – This morning in Frederick County Circuit Court, Maria Gloria Vasquez-Mebo AKA Maria Gloria Vasquez-Mego AKA Maria Gloria Vasquez Mego, age 37, of Frederick was sentenced to Life with all but 35 years suspended in the Division of Corrections by the Honorable Judge Richard Sandy. She must also serve 5 years of supervised probation upon release.


Vasquez-Mebo entered a guilty plea to one count of first-degree murder in the death of 81-year-old Dolores Casas Perez-Colon on June 9, 2022. The plea agreement included a sentencing range of Life suspend all but 25 to 45 years suspended, with the State recommending an active sentence of 45 years and the Defendant seeking a sentence of 25 years.


On September 13, 2020, officers with the Frederick Police Department were dispatched to the 400 block of N. Bentz Street for the report of a cardiac arrest. First responders found the victim on the floor face up with traumatic injuries to her face. Following an autopsy performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, it was determined that the victim died from blunt force injuries sustained by multiple strikes to the head with a rolling pin. The defendant lived at the residence and was the caregiver of the victim’s wheelchair-bound husband.


State’s Attorney Charlie Smith commented, “I am pleased that Ms. Perez-Colon’s family can find comfort in knowing that this defendant will serve decades behind bars for this heinous crime. Her family has indicated this outcome has provided closure, as it spared them the additional trauma of having to sit through a difficult and emotional trial.”


The State was represented by Chief Assistant State’s Attorney Rebecca Clinton and Chief Counsel Joyce King.


Maria Gloria Vasquez-Mebo


FREDERICK, MD – This afternoon in Frederick County Circuit Court, Nazir Rashad Wells, age 20, of  Frederick was sentenced to a combined twenty-five years with all but fifteen years suspended on two counts of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault stemming from three separate incidents. Following his release from the Division of Corrections, Wells must complete five years of supervised probation.



On March 24, 2021, detectives responded to an apartment in the 600 Block of West Patrick Street in Frederick for the report of a domestic incident with a firearm discharge. Officers determined that there were several bullet holes stemming from a single gunshot inside the building. During the investigation, detectives learned from Wells’ girlfriend that the defendant had strangled her two days prior.


On April 27, 2021, Officers with the Frederick Police Department were called to a park located near Taney Ave. and Wilson Place in Frederick for the report of a firearms discharge. Witnesses saw a driver enter the neighborhood and exit a black Mazda to talk to a subject. The driver had a bag with him. They then heard multiple gunshots and witnessed masked subjects flee the area. Investigators were able to determine that Wells had fired the shots at an individual whose vehicle was struck multiple times.


On June 30, 2021, Deputies with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office were called to the area of Wade Ct. and Kirkland Dr. for a firearms discharge.  The victim, who is the same victim as the April 27th  incident, contacted deputies at a nearby Wawa where deputies were able to identify multiple bullet holes in his vehicle.  The investigation again revealed that Wells had fired the shots.  Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office and officers with the Frederick Police Department were able to locate Wells the following day and take him into custody after a brief foot chase.  A handgun was located in the bushes in the area where Wells had fled.


The State was represented by Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Kane and Chief Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Engler.


This investigation was a coordinated effort between the Frederick Police Department, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office under the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN).  The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services provides grant funding and strategic support to MCIN member sites to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations through inter-agency collaboration and data sharing to make Maryland safer.


The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services funded this project under sub award number, MCIN-2022-0014. All points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of any Maryland State office or agency.”




FREDERICK, MD – The Frederick County Cyber Crimes Task Force (FCCCTF) in partnership with the United States Secret Service Baltimore Field Office will host an Internet Safety event Monday, August 22, 2022 from 7:00-8:00 PM at the Frederick County Law Enforcement Center, located at 110 Airport Drive East, Frederick, MD 21701. The presentation is open to the public. Due to some sensitive topics covered, this presentation will not be appropriate for younger children and we ask that only adults attend.


The main presentation, developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), will be provided by Secret Service Assistant to the Special Agent-In-Charge Scott Kohler and Special Agent Jeff Lourinia and focus on how parents can recognize unsafe online behavior and speak with their kids about it. The topics covered will include – inappropriate online content, online privacy, sexting, online solicitation and enticement, cyberbullying, and sextortion.


Members of the County Task Force and Secret Service will be on hand to answer questions following the presentation.



The Frederick County Cyber Crimes Task Force (FCCCTF) was formed in May 2019 as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the State’s Attorney’s Office, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and Frederick Police Department. Investigators with the Maryland State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Secret Service, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) provide State and Federal support.


The mission of the FCCCTF is to investigate, apprehend, and prosecute internet sexual predators who exploit children through the use of the internet and technology, consistent with Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force standards and procedures.