For Immediate Release
January 26, 2024
Frederick County Circuit Court Jury Finds Thurmont Man Guilty on 10 Counts, Including 3 Hate Crimes, Harassment and Trespassing
Frederick, Maryland – Yesterday in Frederick County Circuit Court, Judge Julie Solt presided over a three-day jury-trial involving defendant, Michael David Burns. The jury found Burns guilty of three counts of Hate Crimes, Trespassing on Posted Property, Trespassing on Private Property, two counts of Disorderly Conduct and two counts of Harassment.
The victims, a same-sex couple who are neighbors of the defendant, reported the trespassing and harassment last year directly to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Beginning in March 2023, Assistant State’s Attorney, Carly Gibson, investigated the case by visiting the home of the victims and reviewing the evidence thoroughly. ASA Gibson’s findings warranted numerous charges including the defendant’s continually trespassing onto the victims’ property while in possession of a rifle, verbally harassing the victims with hate-based threats, throwing large rocks on the victims’ driveway to prevent them from accessing their property, and physically blocking the entrance to the property. The defendant has been placed on home detention, monitored by A1 Trusted Monitoring, until his sentencing on April 4, 2024.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said, “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities, regardless of race, sexual orientation, faith, or other status. When hateful words turn into hateful actions, the State’s Attorney’s Office will work diligently to protect the public and secure a just outcome. Hopefully these convictions send a strong message that hate will not be tolerated in Frederick County.”
The charging, prosecution and conviction of Michael David Burns was a result of the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office’s investigation led by Assistant State’s Attorney, Carly Gibson.