FREDERICK – On March 21, 2019, Daniel Ennos, the instigator in the April 8th 2018 riot at the Victor Cullen Center in Sabillasville, pled guilty, thus canceling his jury trial scheduled to begin in April. Ennos appeared before Judge Theresa M. Adams and pled guilty to two counts of Second Degree Assault on staff members and was sentenced to 349 days, time served since April 8, 2018 on those counts. He also pled guilty to Riot and was sentenced to six years in the Division of Corrections to begin immediately, with this sentence consecutive to the other incarceration. The sentence was agreed to by the State and the Defendant. There were at least 10 staff members injured during the riot.
The April 8, 2018 incident occurred at the Victor Cullen Center located on Cullen Drive, in Frederick County, MD. The Victor Cullen Center is a hardware secure, behavior modification facility that provides counseling, education and behavior modification for juveniles. The situation began when Ennos and another youth were fighting. Ennos choked the other until he turned blue. When told that he was going to get written up, Ennos got belligerent. He shoved a staff member and then pushed a staff member to the ground. Defendant and his attorney repeatedly claimed in court that it was a violation of policy for Ennos to get written up for this behavior, thus trying to justify Ennos’ actions. Even after Ennos had assaulted staff, the other staff members attempted to work with him and the others for over an hour, before attempting to use any restraints. After an hour, the Superintendent directed staff to bring handcuffs and if the youth didn’t comply to cuff them and bring them to separate areas. When staff members walked in, co-defendant Bernard Moore hit a staff member from behind. The other youth then began to attack the staff closest to them. The Defendant Daniel Ennos got a male staff member onto the ground and held him in a headlock, choking him. Later Ennos is captured on the video attacking a female staff member. She was in the corner of a room, trying to protect a staff member who had been injured. The State introduced into evidence photographs of this Defendant jumping high into the air, fist pumped, and crashing down upon her. The victim reported that after Ennos struck her she went unconscious briefly. She suffered a broken orbital socket, and for almost a year now has been suffering with on-going injury to her eye.
Multiple police agencies responded to the 911 calls for help from the staff. The Maryland State Police was able to get the facility back under control, and the victims were transported for medical treatment.
Eight residents were charged with injuring staff during this riot, all to differing degrees; All eight have now pled guilty in Adult Court for their roles in the riot. The Frederick County Circuit Court has independently reviewed and then granted the State’s request in each of the eight cases to have these defendants tried as adults. The video of the incident and statements of the employees made clear that these employees did everything they could do to deescalate this situation. Even after Ennos assaulted them, the staff members tried to work with him and not put him in cuffs. Because they didn’t like the behavioral consequences given to them, these eight defendants acted in concert to injure 10 staff members. These staff were just following directions, doing their job, and this incident has changed all of them— some of them physically forever but all of them emotionally. One employee who had worked with youth for years, still can’t return because of the PTSD symptoms; others suffer from those symptoms but eventually had to return to earn a living. Defense Counsel repeatedly blamed the staff for the incident, but rulings in the courtroom and the adult jail sentences for each and every one of those involved demonstrate that blame lies solely on the defendants.
The State was represented by Chief Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Corbett Wilt.
J. Charles Smith, III
State’s Attorney for Frederick County, Maryland