Wednesday, July 20, 2011
SNOW HILL — The man convicted last month of murdering Christine Marie Sheddy is newly accused of trying to escape from the Worcester County Jail.
Hadel could be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole stemming from his first-degree murder conviction at a Sept. 9 hearing. He now faces additional charges, including first-degree attempted escape, malicious destruction of property and possession of contraband in a place of confinement.
Hadel is still being held at the jail pending his upcoming sentencing hearing for the November 2007 murder of Sheddy, a 26-year-old mother of three.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
After U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett struck down Sifrit’s bid for a new trial in late October, the convicted killer embarked on a new path, filing an appeal last week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District, using the same basic argument as his earlier attempts.
Throughout the lengthy appeal process, Sifrit has argued he was denied his right to due process because prosecutors presented inconsistent theories against he and his wife during their separate trials in 2003. Essentially, Sifrit argued prosecutors used slightly different versions of the same facts during the two trials in order to get convictions for both defendants.
After his latest appeal was denied on Oct. 21 at the U.S. District Court level, Sifrit quickly filed an appeal for relief from the higher U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing the same basic premise.
However, Judge Bennett this week issued an order denying Sifrit the “certificate of appealability” needed to move forward with his appeal to the higher court.
“A habeas petitioner has no absolute entitlement to appeal a district court’s denial of his motion,” the judge’s order reads. “A certificate of appealability may issue only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. A petitioner must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.”
In his order, Bennett said Sifrit had not met the requirements for the court to issue the certificate. However, he did not entirely close the door on any future appeal.
“This court will not issue a certificate of appealability because Sifrit has not made the requisite showing,” the judge’s order reads. “Denial of a certificate of appealability does not prevent Sifrit from seeking a certificate of appealability from the appellant court.”
In April 2003, Benjamin Sifrit was convicted of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and accessory after the fact for his part in the killing of Martha Crutchley in an Ocean City condominium on Memorial Day weekend in 2002 and was sentenced to 38 years in jail. His wife, Erika, was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Joshua Ford, and second-degree murder in the death of Crutchley in a separate trial in Frederick, Md. that same year and was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years.
By: Shawn J. Shoper
Friday, June 4, 2010
Dominique Miller, who was 20 years old at the time of the murder, was already a convicted felon and was on probation for a drug charge when the shooting took place.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and two firearms charges last summer.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 8, 2007, a group of young people were gathered at a mobile home park in New Church. They had been there since early evening, testimony at the preliminary hearing showed. All were drinking and some were smoking marijuana.
Some of the men had brought guns to the gathering. One of those was the victim, Michael McKyer. Another was defendant Miller, witnesses said. McKyer had a firearm earlier that night but it was stolen from him — he thought Miller had taken the gun, testimony showed.
Another witness saw Miller put the clip on the gun. He said he heard shots, but thought McKyer had gotten away.
McKyer was taken to the Nelsonia Royal Farms to save time. By the time the ambulance arrived, he was no longer breathing, the witness said.
Miller was charged with first-degree murder, a charge that was reduced to murder in the second degree in a plea bargain with a prosecutor last July. In the terms of the agreement, his incarceration was not to exceed 25 years.
At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, defense attorney James Broccoletti called the killing, “a tremendous, terrible tragedy that should not have occurred,” and argued that Miller should serve a sentence at the low end of the guidelines, which he said were 13 to 22 years. At the preliminary hearing he told the court that Miller and the victim were cousins as well as friends.
He cited Miller’s mental deficiencies related to an earlier head injury.
“His mental status was no fault of his own,” he said.
Broccoletti said Muller had been hit by the slain man and “reacted in a way he should not have reacted."
“He had problems long before the accident occurred,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Agar. “Problems with fighting, with not following the rules in school.”
“The victim was shot seven times, once in the upper chest and the rest in the back while he was running away,” Agar said.
Agar spoke about young men and guns.
“This is something that has to be combated to bring order to the community,” Agar said. He said that the victims family asked him to “please let the court know we want a sentence commensurate with the damage he has done.”
“Neither family should be too critical of the other,” said Circuit Judge Glen A. Tyler before sentencing Miller.
“The event occurred at 1 a.m. among people who were drinking and partying and using substances that altered their minds.” He described the scene as “pretty bad circumstances all around.
Before being sentenced, Miller read aloud a statement apologizing for what he had done.