Brown sen­tenced to 16 years in over­dose death

Bow­man gets sus­pended sen­tence

Record Observer - - FRONT PAGE - By ANGELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — Don Diego Brown, 58, of In­gle­side was sen­tenced in Queen Anne’s County Cir­cuit Court Tues­day, March 21, to serve 16 years in the Mary­land Divi­sion of Cor­rec­tions for dis­tri­bu­tion of heroin in con­nec­tion with the over­dose death of Crys­tal Jean Ring­gold at Sub­way, 230 St. Claire Place, in Stevensville. Judge Thomas Smith, a re­tired judge from Prince Ge­orge’s County, is­sued the sen­tence. Brown had pleaded guilty in a plea agree­ment Jan. 24.

Ring­gold, who worked at Sub­way, was last seen by her fel­low em­ploy­ees about 10 a.m. Sept. 14, 2016. Around 11:35 a.m., they re­al­ized she was miss­ing and, af­ter re­peated knocks on the bath­room door went unan­swered, they called 911, po­lice said. Emer­gency med­i­cal per­son­nel found Ring­gold un­re­spon­sive on the floor of the women’s re­stroom at 11:40 a.m. from a sus­pected heroin over­dose. At­tempts to re­vive her were un­suc­cess­ful. A purse con­tain­ing three sy­ringes, a bag­gie of sus­pected heroin and a spoon with burn marks was re­cov­ered from the scene, po­lice said. Both the Queen Anne’s County Drug Task Force and the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice re­sponded.

An au­topsy by Dr. Pa­tri­cia Aron­ica de­ter­mined Ring­gold’s cause of death to be fen­tanyl and mor­phine in­tox­i­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Queen Anne’s County State’s At­tor­ney’s Of­fice. She said the death was 100 per­cent heroin re­lated with no other con­tribut­ing fac­tors.

Crys­tal Ring­gold was a 27-year-old, sin­gle mother of an 8-year-old boy.

The Drug Task Force re­viewed Ring­gold’s cell phone his­tory, sur­veil­lance footage from the Sub­way restau­rant, sur­veil­lance footage from the Shore Stop lo­cated just across the park­ing lot, and sur­veil­lance footage from the nearby Queen­stown Bank.

The Task Force in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed the fol­low­ing chain of events be­tween 8:20 and 10 a.m.:

• Text mes­sages be­tween Crys­tal and a fe­male iden­ti­fied as “Rachel” where Crys­tal is try­ing to pur­chase heroin.

• Rachel tells Crys­tal that she does not have any to sell to Crys­tal.

• Crys­tal ad­vises that she is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “dope sick­ness.”

• Crys­tal re­ceived a pay­check for $285.51 and cashes it.

• Crys­tal con­tin­ues to text back and forth with Rachel, who was work­ing at the Shore Stop at the same time Crys­tal was work­ing at Sub­way.

• Crys­tal vis­its Rachel at the Shore Stop be­fore re­turn­ing to Sub­way.

• Crys­tal texts an in­di­vid­ual iden­ti­fied as “Don” and asks “how much do I owe you for gram?” “Don” re­sponds “140” and Crys­tal ad­vises “I will give you a ex­tra 20 if you get here quick. Lol”

• “Don” re­sponds that he is on his way.

• At 9:53 a.m. a black Toy­ota Camry driven by “Don” pulls into the Sub­way park­ing lot.

• Crys­tal walks out to the park­ing lot to meet “Don” then re­turns to the Sub­way.

• At 9:55 a.m. Crys­tal en­ters the women’s bath­room inside of Sub­way and doesn’t exit.

“Don” was iden­ti­fied as Don Diego Brown. “Rachel” was iden­ti­fied as Rachel Maury Bow­man, 21, of Church Hill.

Both Brown and Bow­man were orig­i­nally charged with man­slaugh­ter. Those charges were dropped when the pair were in­dicted Oct. 4, 2016, be­fore Judge Karen Jensen on charges of in­vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter and dis­tri­bu­tion of a con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance, reck­less en­dan­ger­ment, con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute a con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance and ad­di­tional counts of pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance, not mar­i­juana.

Ring­gold’s death and the sur­round­ing cir­cum­stances oc­cured at a time in which heroin re­lated over­doses have reached epi­demic pro­por­tions prompt­ing fed­eral, state and county re­sponses. The mat­ter was pros­e­cuted by Deputy State’s At­tor­ney Chris­tine Dulla Rickard and As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Jen­nifer R. Doud, both of whom re­cently pro­vided tes­ti­mony re­gard­ing this case to the Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly (House Bill 687 and Se­nate Bill 539) in hopes of cre­at­ing a law for the dis­tri­bu­tion of an opi­oid (or opi­oid ana­logue) which re­sults in the death of an­other.

Bow­man also took a plea deal. She pleaded guilty Jan. 19 to pos­ses­sion of Subox­one and pos­ses­sion of heroin and was sen­tenced March 7 to eight years of in­car­cer­a­tion, which was sus­pended. She was placed on 30 months of su­per­vised pro­ba­tion. Bow­man had no prior crim­i­nal record.

At the time of his ar­rest, Brown was on pa­role or pro­ba­tion from a 25-year sen­tence in a first-de­gree as­sault con­vic­tion stem­ming from an in­ci­dent in 2001. He also faces the bal­ance of time on that of­fense.

Brown’s crim­i­nal record be­gins in 1978 and is fairly con­sis­tent un­til 2001 at which point he was in­car­cer­ated un­til 2015, po­lice said. This record con­sists of two forg­eries, two as­saults with in­tent to rob, one rob­bery, two thefts, two sim­ple pos­ses­sions of con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stances, one pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stances, and the one first-de­gree as­sault.

Queen Anne’s County State’s At­tor­ney Lance Richard­son and Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann cred­ited the hard work of in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Queen Anne’s County Drug Task Force, quick re­sponse and think­ing in re­gard to ev­i­dence preser­va­tion and wit­ness state­ments by re­spond­ing pa­trol of­fi­cers and crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice along with long hours of case re­view and trial prepa­ra­tion for the suc­cess­ful ar­rest and prose­cu­tion of those re­spon­si­ble for de­liv­er­ing the heroin that led to Ring­gold’s over­dose death.

RACHEL MAURY BOW­MAN

DON DIEGO BROWN

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