State v. Williams, 103, September Term, 2005.

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Citation916 A.2d 294,397 Md. 172
Docket NumberNo. 103, September Term, 2005.,103, September Term, 2005.
PartiesSTATE of Maryland v. Charles Phillip WILLIAMS.
Decision Date08 February 2007
916 A.2d 294
397 Md. 172
STATE of Maryland
Charles Phillip WILLIAMS.
No. 103, September Term, 2005.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
February 8, 2007.

[916 A.2d 297]

Mary Ann Ince, Asst. Atty. Gen. (J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Atty. Gen., on brief), for petitioner.

Stacy W. McCormack, Asst. Public Defender (Nancy S. Forster, Public Defender, on brief), for respondent.



This matter arises from the conviction and sentence of Charles Phillip Williams ("Williams") in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. The theory of the prosecution was that Williams aided and abetted1 Anthony Henderson and Cheryl Gaines in the attempted armed robbery of Ahmed Hussein, the operator of a Citgo gas station and convenience store located in Baltimore County. The trial judge found Williams guilty of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon (Count 1); attempted robbery (Count 2); assault in the first degree (Count 3); attempted theft (Count 4); use of a handgun in the commission of a felony (Count 6); and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence (Count 7). Williams was charged with, but acquitted of, wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun (Count 5)2 and two counts of possession of a firearm (Counts 8 and 9).

In this case, we have been asked to decide whether the Circuit Court judge rendered inconsistent verdicts when he convicted Williams of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault in the first degree, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence and a felony, but found him not guilty of wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun. We answer in the affirmative. In this case, the trial judge failed to acknowledge and explain the inconsistent verdicts. We therefore hold that the guilty verdicts for attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault in the first degree, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence and a felony must be vacated, and,

916 A.2d 298

accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals.


We adopt the facts as set forth by the Court of Special Appeals in its unreported opinion. Williams v. State, No. 2037, September Term, 2003. In addressing Williams's appeal, the intermediate appellate court stated as follows:

On the morning of February 6, 2003, Ahmed Hussein was working as a cashier at the Citgo gas station and convenience store located at 620 Edmonson Avenue in Baltimore County. At approximately 6:30 a.m., a man and a woman entered the store. Hussein, who had been outside, followed them inside. At trial, Hussein testified that the man and woman were wearing masks, but it was "very cold" and they said good morning so he believed that they were "regular customers."

When Hussein entered the store's cashier room, the man told him to lay down. As Hussein turned around, he saw the man pointing a gun at his chest. Hussein did not lay down. Instead, he tried to close the door, but the man prevented him from doing so with his leg. The man twice told Hussein to lay down, then fired the gun at the floor, missing Hussein's feet by a few inches. After the shot was fired, the man cursed and he and the woman left the store. Hussein called the police.

Mandy Thurston lives near the Citgo station. At approximately 6:30 a.m. on the morning in question, she was preparing to leave for school and went outside to warm up her car. At that time, Thurston observed a red Acura pull up in front of a bar, which was located directly across the street from Thurston's vehicle.[ ] Thurston stated that she "saw a lot of movement . . . in the car like they were covering their faces." However, she could not see the individuals. The Acura then made a U-turn and drove off.

Thurston next saw a man and a woman walking up Old Edmondson Avenue toward the Citgo. According to Thurston, they did not have anything on their heads, and their faces were visible as they came up the street, although they were too far away for her to identify them. She then saw the Acura again, which backed into a parking space on the side of the bar. The man and woman exited the Citgo station and were "hurrying" toward the Acura. After they entered the vehicle, it "took off a little bit faster" than Thurston had seen the car traveling previously. Thurston started to drive to school, but turned around when she saw the police heading toward the Citgo station. At the Citgo station, she gave a description of the red Acura to the police, noting that it had bumper damage to the left side of the vehicle.

Detective James Bonsall testified that, on February 6, 2003, he was in plain clothes and traveling in an unmarked car, which was equipped with a blue light on the dashboard, but not a siren. At that time, he heard the broadcast for a vehicle involved in a robbery. The vehicle was described as a red, two-door Acura with silver along the bottom of the car and damage to the left rear with the bumper hanging down. A tag number was also provided. At approximately 11:46 a.m., a few miles from the Citgo, the detective observed a vehicle matching that description.

Detective Bonsall followed the Acura and radioed for assistance. He was then advised that City police units were on the way. Detective Bonsall continued to follow the Acura while waiting for

916 A.2d 299

assistance. The Acura was driving normally and did not commit any traffic infractions, nor did the driver attempt to elude Bonsall.

Bonsall recalled that, after turning onto Winchester Street, the Acura traveled about a block to a block and a-half before the driver pulled the vehicle to the curb. The detective pulled over approximately three car lengths behind the Acura. The driver waited about thirty seconds before starting to get out of the vehicle. When the driver of the Acura appeared as if he were exiting the car, Bonsall began to get out of his vehicle. The detective crouched behind the car door and placed his hand on his weapon, but then the Acura "took off." Detective Bonsall "never reached that point where he was able to identify" himself as a police officer. The detective continued to follow the vehicle. At some point, a helicopter joined the pursuit.

The Acura made a U-turn and Detective Bonsall "got a good look at the face of the driver." Although Bonsall eventually lost sight of the Acura, the police helicopter indicated that the car had stopped at the end of the 500 block of Longwood Street and that the driver had gone onto the porch of the residence at 501 Longwood Street. Although the police conducted an extensive search, the driver was not found.

On February 7, 2003, the day after the attempted robbery, Detective Bonsall viewed a photographic array and identified [Williams] as the driver of the Acura. The detective also made an in-court identification of [Williams].

Corporal Todd Edelin testified that the Acura was abandoned two and a-half to three miles from the Citgo station, in the 500 block of North Longwood Street in Baltimore City. He determined that the vehicle was registered to [Williams]. He showed Thurston pictures of the vehicle and she immediately stated: "That's the car."

Edelin responded to the address listed on the Acura's registration and spoke with [Williams]'s mother. She confirmed that the Acura belonged to him and indicated that [Williams] had been staying with her "off and on, but he had a drug problem and she hadn't seen him in awhile." Edelin obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. In the ensuing search, he recovered [William]'s driver's license, a black knit hat, a black skull cap, and a pair of black cloth gloves.

[Williams] was arrested on April 3, 2003. He was advised of his Miranda rights,[ ] agreed to waive those rights, and made a statement. Corporal Edelin offered the following testimony regarding [Williams]'s statement:

[PROSECUTOR]: And what, if anything did [Williams] tell you?

[EDELIN]: He stated that he was driving that car that day, his car, the Acura, helping two friends out. They were supposed to go to Catonsville to a house in Catonsville to get money from a friend of the co-defendant's, and when they got to the house, no one was home.

When they were driving back, he said the co-defendant wanted to stop for cigarettes at a gas station, and they stopped. He backed into a parking lot behind the gas station to do his heroin, and the two passengers got out and went into the gas station, came back, and then they went back to Longwood....

[PROSECUTOR]: What did he tell you happened when they got back to Longwood?

[EDELIN]: He said, when they were back at Longwood, the two got into an

916 A.2d 300

argument over what happened at the gas station.

[PROSECUTOR]: When you say the two, who do you mean?

[EDELIN]: Anthony Henderson, the co-defendant, and Cheryl Gaines, the female girlfriend of Anthony Henderson.

He said they got into an argument about what went on at the gas station. She was asking why he did that, and then the defendant asked — said he asked what went on, and they told him that they went in to get money and the gun went off accidentally, and he said he freaked out and basically said he didn't know anything happened when he was at the gas station until afterward back at Longwood.

* * * * * *

[PROSECUTOR]: What did he [Williams] tell you Tony Henderson was trying to do in the store?

[EDELIN]: He said initially he was to get cigarettes, but when he found out back at the house, he said he went to get money to help him, to help the defendant out.

[PROSECUTOR]: What did that mean? Did he say what that meant?

[EDELIN]: His drug problem.

[Williams] also informed the corporal that Henderson had been arrested at 525 Longwood Street and that the police had recovered a handgun. [Williams] believed it was the gun used at the Citgo Station. Williams stated that, prior to the armed robbery, he had seen Henderson on Longwood Street with the gun.


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