Oglesby went on to thank everyone that supported him, especially his family, who joined him during the swearing in.
“God bless you and God bless Worcester County,” he said.
Beau is looking forward to seeing and thanking the many friends, family, and supporters who helped make this momentous day possible.
Within three weeks, Powell's office will try a first-degree murder case. They will try Jason Joerell Phillips, a 31-year-old Princess Anne man accused of beating his former girlfriend, Melissa Morris, so severely in May that she died of the injuries three months later.
Currently, Powell is juggling his job as an assistant state's attorney in Dorchester County while also developing the framework for the Somerset State's Attorney's Office. Powell contends that Kristy Hickman, the Democratic state's attorney he defeated in the election, hasn't been cooperative with the transition.
"Regardless, I want the residents of the county to know I'm not sitting on my hands waiting for Kristy to reach out to me. I'm doing as much as I can ethically, within the rules of the bar, to get ready," Powell said.
Hickman did not return several calls for comment.
Powell is one of three Republican state's attorneys on the Lower Shore that will be sworn in Jan. 3. Beau Oglesby will take office in Worcester County after defeating four-term incumbent Joel Todd, and Matt Maciarello will take over in Wicomico County, replacing Davis Ruark, who had been in office since 1987.
A shake-up of top prosecutors concentrated in one region is unusual. Statewide, only seven of the 24 state's attorney's offices won't have an incumbent returning, and that's counting the three new prosecutors on the Lower Shore.
Awaiting the new state's attorneys is batch of important cases, ranging from murder trials and rape cases to cases involving armed robberies, first-degree assault and drug transactions.
Adam Hoffman, a political analyst with Salisbury University, said the Republican sweep of Lower Shore state's attorney elections can be attributed to the anti-incumbent mood that swept much of the nation. He also said Republicans often have a built-in advantage in prosecutorial races because of the GOP's reputation as the law-and-order party.
"And as people are more concerned about the rising crime rates on certain parts of the Eastern Shore, Salisbury and whatnot, they may turn to what they perceive as representative from a party that might be able to do a better job," he said.
"This case is so involved that it needs the time and attention of at least two full-time attorneys," Maciarello said.
Maciarello got a head start on the case when Ruark swore him in as the deputy state's attorney Nov. 8. Under that status, Maciarello can receive privileged information about any case. He's traveled to Cecil County to participate in the Foxwell case's discovery hearings. The hearings determine what evidence will be admitted for the case.
There are four additional murder cases pending in the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office, not to mention several unsolved murders under investigation.
Maciarello said he won't shake up how the cases are prosecuted. That goes for the first-degree murder trial of Kenneth Lee Burke Jr., who is accused of killing his girlfriend, Taheerah Sabr, in August by shooting her twice in the head. No date has been set for the trial.
"All these cases have been pending for some time. Those assistant state's attorneys will handle them. I have no plans to reassign them," Maciarello said.
Maciarello said he's focused his attention on wrapping up his partnership at Hearne & Bailey in Salisbury. But that hasn't stopped him from diving into the administrative duties in the State's Attorney's Office.
With Ruark's blessing, Maciarello has begun reviewing the office's $1.75 million budget, scheduling attorney case loads for January and meeting with his staff, individually and as a group.
Ruark said he hasn't explored his career options in depth because his focus right now is on the Foxwell case. Maciarello has offered Ruark the chance to be the lead counsel in the case.
"I am committed to Sarah's case above all else," Ruark said.
"When I took the oath of office, in my opinion, that includes getting the next person ready, whether I pass the baton voluntarily or the voters decide it's time for someone else," Todd said.
Oglesby said he and Todd have met several times to discuss the job, personnel matters and upcoming cases.
"There's a bigger issue and that's public safety and the effective and successful prosecution of cases," Oglesby said. "I've got nothing but favorable things to say about not only Joel, but his entire office in the way the transition is going. We'll be ready. I'm as intimate as you could be with the cases at this point."
Oglesby's office, not Todd's, will handle the Feb. 8 murder trial in the death of Christine Sheddy. A 20-year-old Texas man, Justin Michael Hadel, is accused of killing Sheddy, who first went missing in 2007 and whose remains were found this February.
When asked if his successor would be ready for the demands of the job, Todd instead reflected on his own career.
"I hadn't been on the job a week before I realized there was a lot more to being state's attorney than when I was the deputy," he said. "I suspect that's true of anybody that takes over."
Oglesby, 41, leaves his job as deputy state's attorney for Caroline County to take over in Worcester. He has spoken with Maciarello and Powell about formalizing a Lower Shore collaboration of law enforcement that would meet to share information among task forces, combined criminal units and child advocacy centers.
Todd has no major trials pending in his remaining three weeks. He said he has no idea what his next move will be, saying it's too early to tell, but promised he won't run for public office again.
In Somerset, Powell said he is "disappointed" that Hickman and he aren't having a smooth transition with the office. But that hasn't stopped Powell from working on the office. He's selected Edmund L. Widdowson Jr. as his assistant state's attorney. Powell said Widdowson has 30 years of experience and will make a great deputy state's attorney.
"It's my ship now," Powell said. "I will take an active role in the cases."
When election officials finished counting about 1,500 absentee ballots Thursday, Todd, a Democrat, had received 739 additional votes. Oglesby, a Republican, added 701 absentee votes.
That cut down the vote lead Oglesby earned on Election Day, but did not reverse it.
“This time four years ago, I was up by two [votes], and now I’m up by 107,” Oglesby said, referring to a razor-thin 2006 contest in which Todd prevailed by 14 votes. “It’s a much better place to be.”
Several hundred absentee ballots Worcester officials mailed out to voters who asked for them haven’t yet been cataloged or counted. Ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by the time officals count absentees again on Nov. 12 could still be counted as valid votes.
“We’re quietly optimistic,” Oglesby said. “There’s still enough votes out there to make a difference, so we’ll stand by and see what happens.”
Todd did not return a call for comment late Thursday.
In another close Worcester county race, for District 4 commissioner, incumbent Democrat Virgil Shockley slightly widened his lead over Republican Ted Elder.
Shockley earned 93 absentee votes, for a total of 1,257; Elder garnered 79, for a total of 1,172. Shockley now leads by 85 votes.
The state’s attorney is the critical link between arrest and conviction. Without a conviction there can be no punishment, no deterrence and no rehabilitation. Thus, public safety is compromised.
I am proud to have received the support and endorsement of all three of Worcester County’s Fraternal Orders of Police (Worcester County, Ocean City and Berlin), the Maryland State FOP, Chief Deputy Reggie Mason of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, Wicomico County FOP and Caroline County FOP. These endorsements are from the men and women who know best the importance of a strong and effective state’s attorney. Law enforcement is a team effort and these unanimous endorsements prove the need for immediate change in the State’s Attorney’s Office to increase public safety.
As your state’s attorney, I will execute an office-wide policy of prosecution that ensures individuals will be held accountable for their criminal behavior. All cases will be prosecuted with a hands-on, aggressive approach and in a manner that is firm, fair and consistent.
I appreciate your consideration on Tuesday. Together we will make Worcester County the first place you want to live and the last place you want to commit a crime.
Oglesby is a candidate for Worcester County state’s attorney. — Editor