Man on trial for aim­ing ri­fle at po­lice of­fi­cer

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­ Twit­ter: @An­drew_IndyNews

Ac­cused of aim­ing a loaded SKS as­sault ri­fle at a Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice Emer­gency Ser­vices Team of­fi­cer dur­ing a De­cem­ber 2014 raid, a Brandy­wine man is on trial this week to con­test the al­le­ga­tions of first-, sec­ond-de­gree as­sault and mul­ti­ple il­le­gal firearm pos­ses­sion charges.

When two tac­ti­cal teams of of­fi­cers outfitted with au­to­matic weapons and heavy body ar­mor ex­e­cuted a no-knock search war­rant on his Brandy­wine home, Mau­rice Deshonte Mack­all, 38, al­legedly pointed the gun at the vet­eran point­man, Lt. Ben Voorhaar, as he rounded the cor­ner.

On Dec. 23, 2014, it was Voorhaar’s last raid with the Emer­gency Ser­vices Team (EST), and to honor his 15-year stint, he was the first man to en­ter the home, As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Jonathan Beat­tie told ju­rors. The war­rant was is­sued af­ter po­lice re­ceived a pho­to­graph al­legedly de­pict­ing Mack­all hold­ing an as­sault ri­fle, ac­cord­ing to court pro­ceed­ings.

Hav­ing a dis­qual­i­fy­ing con­vic­tion on his record, Mack­all is for­bid­den to pos­sess any firearms, Beat­tie said.

When the po­lice con­voy ar­rived at Mack­all’s res­i­dent at 3550 Lind­sey Place around 6 a.m., a man on the porch started run­ning, court pro­ceed­ings re­vealed. Two of­fi­cers chased him, but he was not caught.

As the en­try-team cleared the house, re­peat­edly shout­ing ver­bal com­mands to nu­mer­ous com­plicit oc­cu­pants, the perime­ter-team threw flash bangs out­side to dis­tract any­one who might be dan­ger­ous in­side, while watch­ing the win­dows for po­ten­tial threats.

Voorhaar led the team down­stairs and to­ward an open door to his left, “turn­ing into the un­known,” Beat­tie con­tin­ued.

In the room, “he sees a man stand­ing there …. with a weapon drawn to his shoul­der,” he said.

Voorhaar quickly jumped back, knock­ing into the stack of of­fi­cers be­hind him, and yelled, “Gun, gun, gun, gun, gun,” of­fi­cers tes­ti­fied.

“He ex­pects …. bul­lets [to start] chew­ing up that wall,” Beat­tie said. “A mo­ment passes, noth­ing hap­pens.”

Af­ter no bul­lets were fired, Voorhaar peeked around the cor­ner a few times and saw Mack­all lay­ing face down on the floor, sur­ren­der­ing, and the SKS ri­fle un­der­neath a cof­fee ta­ble, and a shot­gun be­hind the door, ac­cord­ing to pro­ceed­ings.

De­fense at­tor­ney El­iz­a­beth Ca­wood told ju­rors in her open­ing state­ment that “the state is not telling you the whole story,” adding that the owner of the guns may never be known, as there were 13 peo­ple in the house at the time.

“Mack­all did not point a gun at any­body,” she said. “[He] does ab­so­lutely no such thing. He was afraid some­one was go­ing to shoot him.”

“Mr. Mack­all was asleep … [at] his fam­ily home in Brandy­wine,” Ca­wood con­tin­ued. “It’s dark and it’s early in the morn­ing. … He was very co­op­er­a­tive with po­lice. He was truth­ful.”

The pros­e­cu­tion called upon ex­pert wit­ness Steve Weitz, a foren­sic sci­en­tist with the Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco and Firearms, to tes­tify about the DNA re­cov­ered from the SKS ri­fle.

Ac­cord­ing to his tes­ti­mony, at least two DNA pro­files were present when test­ing the grip, trig­ger, and slide of the ri­fle, but the ma­jor con­trib­u­tor be­longed to an un­known fe­male, and the mi­nor con­trib­u­tor could not be de­ter­mined, though test re­sults in­di­cated it be­longed to a male.

Weitz ex­plained that there were many fac­tors that would im­pact the pres­ence of “touch-DNA,” and ul­ti­mately con­cluded that the test re­sults were in­con­clu­sive.

The trial is on­go­ing as of press time on Tues­day.

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