Pr. Ge­orge’s slay­ing sus­pect wanted since ’09 shoot­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY MATT ZAPO­TO­SKY

A teenager ac­cused of killing a man dur­ing a do­mes­tic dis­pute in Forestville this month was charged with at­tempted murder in 2009, but Prince Ge­orge’s County sher­iff ’s deputies did not serve that ar­rest war­rant un­til af­ter the re­cent slay­ing, ac­cord­ing to law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and court records.

Donte D. Dou­glass of Capi­tol Heights had been wanted since Oc­to­ber 2009 in the shoot­ing of a man with whom he had an on­go­ing dis­pute. A war­rant was is­sued for his ar­rest on Oct. 21, 2009, but it went unserved un­til Jan. 11 — the day Dou­glass, 18, was charged with murder in the re­cent slay­ing.

A spokes­woman for the sher­iff ’s of­fice, which is re­spon­si­ble for serv­ing war­rants, said deputies went to Doug

lass’s home on Elfin Av­enue twice in De­cem­ber 2010 — more than a year af­ter the war­rant was is­sued — but Dou­glass was not home.

The spokes­woman, Sharon Tay­lor, said there were no records to in­di­cate that deputies had tried to serve the war­rant ear­lier, and she could not ex­plain why. Maj. An­drew El­lis, the pub­lic af­fairs com­man­der for Prince Ge­orge’s po­lice, said District III in­ves­ti­ga­tors tried to find Dou­glass in the days af­ter the 2009 shoot­ing but re­lied on sher­iff ’s deputies to make the ar­rest.

The sher­iff ’s of­fice did not en­ter the war­rant into its sys­tem un­til Jan. 3, 2010 — af­ter Dou­glass had been in­dicted in Cir­cuit Court, ac­cord­ing to court records and Tay­lor.

Tay­lor said she could not ex­plain why there was a de­lay in en­ter­ing it. Prince Ge­orge’s Sher­iff Melvin C. High, who was elected in Novem­ber, is re­view­ing an “un­ac­cept­able” back­log of 53,000 war­rants and de­vel­op­ing pro­cesses to make sure they are served, Tay­lor said. About half of those are for traf­fic vi­o­la­tions.

“What I can tell you about the process un­der this ad­min­is­tra­tion is felony war­rants are at the top of our pri­or­ity,” Tay­lor said.

The re­cent slay­ing oc­curred Jan. 8. Dou­glass was charged in the fa­tal shoot­ing of Corteza War­ren Liv­ingston out­side a town­house in the 3100 block of Dy­nasty Drive. Po­lice said Dou­glass went to the home with a woman to drop off the woman’s child with Liv­ingston’s brother— the child’s fa­ther. There was a fight, and Dou­glass shot and killed Liv­ingston, 21, and wounded the brother, po­lice have said.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice charg­ing doc­u­ments, Dou­glass also opened fire on a man who was walk­ing past his house on Oct. 21, 2009.

The man, who was se­ri­ously in­jured, told po­lice that he and Dou­glass had an “on­go­ing dis- pute,” ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

Wanda Dou­glass, 45, Dou­glass’s mother, said she did not know her son was wanted in the 2009 in­ci­dent, which she char­ac­ter­ized as self-de­fense. She said that an ac­quain­tance of her son’s tried to break into her home and that Donte Dou­glass ended up wrestling with him in the front yard.

“My son took the gun from him, and that’s when my son shot at him,” Wanda Dou­glass said. She said she fig­ured po­lice thought it was self-de­fense, be­cause they never came to her house to charge him. She said her son was liv­ing at the home with his girl­friend and 10-month-old son.

The sher­iff ’s of­fice recorded a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent in Au­gust, when a Seat Pleas­ant man ac­cused of fa­tally shoot­ing his girl­friend was charged two weeks ear­lier with threat­en­ing her with a hand­gun, but deputies never tried to ar­rest him on the war­rant.

Tay­lor said the sher­iff ’s of­fice has 10 deputies serv­ing war­rants, and of­fi­cials plan to in­crease that to 17 in com­ing weeks. The sher­iff ’s of­fice is au­tho­rized to have 248 deputies, but about 40 po­si­tions are un­filled, Tay­lor said.

Tay­lor de­clined to say whether the sher­iff ’s of­fice had enough deputies to clear the back­log, ex­plain­ing that the sher­iff had not yet com­pleted his re­view. She also said it was not cer­tain that serv­ing a war­rant would have saved a life.

“ You might fairly spec­u­late that if [a sus­pect] were in jail, he might not be able to com­mit the murder,” she said. “We might also eas­ily spec­u­late that had he been ar­rested, he might be out on bond.”

Liv­ingston’s fam­ily de­clined to com­ment.

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