Plea re­jected for dis­posal of dead body

Lusby man also faces drug charges

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By AN­DREW CEPHAS acephas@somd­

A Lusby man re­jected the plea of­fer in his case Fri­day for a Septem­ber 2016 in­ci­dent where he and a Dow­ell woman al­legedly at­tempted to dis­pose of a Vir­ginia man’s dead body.

Mark Steven Garner II, 29, was charged with al­ter­ing phys­i­cal ev­i­dence, con­spir­ing to al­ter phys­i­cal ev­i­dence and bury­ing/ dis­pos­ing of a de­ceased body in an unau­tho­rized place. He is also in­dicted in two ad­di­tional cases in Calvert County Cir­cuit Court on drug dis­tri­bu­tion charges.

His co-de­fen­dant, Jac­que­lyn Re­nee Wal­lace, 27, was charged with con­tribut­ing to a

con­di­tion that ren­ders a child in need of as­sis­tance, ne­glect of a mi­nor, al­ter­ing phys­i­cal ev­i­dence, con­spir­ing to al­ter phys­i­cal ev­i­dence, bury­ing/dis­pos­ing of a de­ceased body in an unau­tho­rized place, pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance — not mar­i­juana, reck­less en­dan­ger­ment and pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance ad­min­is­ter­ing equip­ment for the Sept. 26 in­ci­dent, on­line court records state.

Dur­ing the early morn­ing hours Sept. 28, au­thor­i­ties were dis­patched to the Calvert Ma­rina in Solomons for a check wel­fare call, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment of facts read into record by Deputy State’s At­tor­ney Kathryn Marsh. Upon ar­riv­ing on scene, of­fi­cers made con­tact with the com­plainant, Garner, who re­port­edly said he called the Calvert County Con­trol Cen­ter be­cause he did not know what to do about his friend, Ge­orge Lee Rome Jr., 28, whom he said had just died from an over­dose.

Garner then took of­fi­cers near the tree line of the ma­rina where Rome was al­legedly found wrapped up in blan­kets and sheets, ly­ing face down, Marsh stated. The of­fi­cer re­port­edly ob- served Rome was un­re­spon­sive and cold to the touch. Au­thor­i­ties de­ter­mined Rome had re­port­edly been de­ceased and not in the wake of a re­cent over­dose and sub­se­quently read Garner his Mi­randa rights.

Af­ter be­ing read his rights, Garner al­legedly gave a state­ment that he and Rome were sleep­ing to­gether in the tree line area of the ma­rina. He said when he woke up Rome was not breath­ing or mov­ing, al­though he was alive the night be­fore at 3 a.m., ac­cord­ing to the state­ment of facts. Along with Maryland State Po­lice, the Calvert County Sher­iff’s Of­fice be­gan an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent.

On Sept. 30, a search war­rant was ex­e­cuted at Wal­lace’s res­i­dence, where Garner had been re­sid­ing at the time. While ex­e­cut­ing the search war­rant, some of Rome’s cloth­ing was re­port­edly found in the base­ment, along with the same types of sheets and bed­ding he was found wrapped in. Of­fi­cers also found subox­one strips, items with heroin residue and other para­pher­na­lia in­side the house.

Garner re­port­edly told of­fi­cers he was sell­ing heroin from Wal­lace’s home for some time last year. He said Rome was over the house and used some of his heroin be­fore sub­se­quently suf­fer­ing from an over­dose and dy­ing, the state­ment of facts al­lege. Garner al­legedly said Wal­lace wanted Rome out of her house, as this was the sec­ond fa­tal over­dose in her home and she was fear­ful of los­ing her child. Her ve­hi­cle was re­port­edly used to trans­port the body.

At his Oct. 27 plea hear­ing, Garner re­jected the plea of­fers on all three cases. He is set to go to trial Jan. 23 on the body dis­posal charge. The first drug dis­tri­bu­tion case is sched­uled to com­mence trial Jan. 9 with the sec­ond case’s trial be­gin­ning Feb. 23.

In Fe­bru­ary, Wal­lace pled guilty to con­tribut­ing to a con­di­tion that ren­ders a child in need of as­sis­tance and pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance ad­min­is­ter­ing equip­ment. She also en­tered an Al­ford plea to bury­ing/dis­pos­ing of a de­ceased body in an unau­tho­rized place. An Al­ford plea is when a de­fen­dant agrees the state has enough ev­i­dence for a con­vic­tion with­out mak­ing an ad­mis­sion of guilt.

Cir­cuit Judge Mark Chan­dlee dealt Wal­lace the max­i­mum sen­tence of eight years with all but 18 months sus­pended in Septem­ber. He au­tho­rized work re­lease and gave her five years of su­per­vised pro­ba­tion.

Garner is cur­rently in­car­cer­ated in the St. Mary’s County De­ten­tion Cen­ter for the al­leged mur­der of 31-year-old Bar­bara Ann Sne­den.

Ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­ports, Garner al­legedly ad­mit­ted sell­ing heroin to Swe­den, who died from an over­dose last Au­gust at a Walden-Sierra lo­ca­tion in Cal­i­for­nia. Au­thor­i­ties awaited tox­i­col­ogy re­sults from her au­topsy, which showed she died from heroin in­tox­i­ca­tion.

Garner is ac­cused of con­spir­ing with Sne­den to sell heroin, and dur­ing a po­lice in­ter­view “he ad­mit­ted to sell­ing heroin to Sne­den dur­ing the [Aug. 30] drug trans­ac­tion,” ac­cord­ing to an ap­pli­ca­tion for charges filed by St. Mary’s sher­iff’s Cpl. An­thony Whip­key. “Sne­den later con­sumed the heroin that was pur­chased from the de­fen­dant and died from an ap­par­ent drug over­dose,” the charg­ing doc­u­ments state.

The al­leged drug trans­ac­tion hap­pened off the half­way house’s premises, pre­vi­ous re­ports state.

St. Mary’s Sher­iff’s nar­cotics de­tec­tives ac­com­pa­nied Calvert of­fi­cers in the Sept. 30 raid where Garner was re­port­edly found to be in pos­ses­sion of uniquely pack­aged heroin. De­tec­tives rec­og­nized this spe­cific pack­ag­ing ma­te­rial and tech­nique as be­ing used by the dealer of the heroin that caused the death of Sne­den.

Garner is in­dicted on charges of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der, man­slaugh­ter, reck­less en­dan­ger­ment and con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute nar­cotics in St. Mary’s County for this in­ci­dent. He is sched­uled for a mo­tions hear­ing Feb. 5 with a po­ten­tial jury trial be­gin­ning March 6.


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