Wednesday, July 20, 2011

June 25, 2011- Truck and Tractor Pull

Pocomoke fairgrounds was filled with lots of activity the night of Saturday, June 25, 2011.  So many  fans of this type of sport purchased tickets for the annual  evening  event  tractor and truck pulling.  Children were excited and spectators were lined up on the bleachers and in lawn chairs on the grass.

But the true hustle-bustle was "behind the scenes" in the pits and in the staging area.  Driving teams were busy preparing to give a great show and thrill the spectators.  Last minute details were being tended to.

It may look like fun, and to an extent it is, but these places can be very dangerous places.  When these trucks and tractors are moving it can be  from quite difficult to nearly impossible to see anything or anyone moving about. 
On this night, where anything can go wrong in a split second or blink of an eye, it was a comfort to look around and see the Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Company in the shadows with emergency equipment standing by in case their emergency services were needed.

To many of you this may no seem like no  big deal.  Let me assure you that is certainly is! 

My husband and a few of his friends are racers.  The type of racing they do is on a much smaller scale from a truck and tractor pull but requires speed.

I have been in the pits of race tracks  and watched with my own eyes trucks begin to flame and smoke with the driver inside. I've seen them roll over and over.  Just last summer I witnessed an attempt to rescue a racer on my husbands team,  by the drivers  son, daughter, son-in-law, my husband  then followed by the drivers wife! 

There WERE NO paramedics.  NO fire fighters.- just in case their services might have been needed.   NO fire extinguishers!!- only the one mounted in the truck.

  And no matter how often or how loudly I complain about the need for some type of emergency attendence no one listens. 

Drivers of these vehicles performed for an audience of many.  They gave a wonderful performance.   If anything had gone wrong any driver  would have had medical and fire protection within seconds.
 Pocomoke fireman were also nearby on the race track through the entire evening.

Their appearance was quite a comfort to see. I applaud them all for taking their  private time to protect others.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Latest On Pocomoke City Craigslist Scandal

Amber Watson
POCOMOKE CITY, Md. - The Craigslist scam that left one Pocomoke city mother and her four children homeless has ended on a positive note.

Robert Austera pleaded guilty to three counts of theft. In May - we spoke with Mindy Page who said she met Austera on Craigslist and signed a lease to move into a house on Laurel Street. But authorities say Austera didn't own the home - and was only hired to do maintenance.

Austera was not charged in Mindy's case but pled guilty in similar cases.

As for Mindy - she worked out a deal with the actual homeowner and she and her family are now living in the Pocomoke house.

TIME MACHINE ... June, 1879 (Part 3 of 5)

Please note: Due to its length the postings for this article which began on Sunday will continue during this week.


(As published in the Warren Ledger, Warren, Pa.)


Details of the most remarkable crime on record.

A Woman Who Wanted To Marry One Of Her Own Sex.

Baltimore, May 27.- The trial of Miss Lillie Duer on an indictment for fatally shooting her once intimate friend and associate, Miss Ella Hearn, is fixed for tomorrow, at Snow Hill, Worcester County, Md.

(PART 3)

.....(an earlier shooting incident) When asked why she (Miss Duer) shot the only reply was that if she (Miss Hearn) had not halted then the next shot would have been more effective than the previous ones.

From that time Miss Hearn began to be seriously alarmed when in company with her friend, and on one occasion it is related when she, with strange vehemence, asked Miss Hearn if she did love her and went so far as to actually propose that she should get married, she fled from the parlor, where they had been talking, and locked herself in her room. These little difficulties were gotten over finally, however, and the intimacy was renewed, but not so warmly as before. Miss Duer was constantly complaining that her "passionate love was not returned," and sighing over her "lost hope of bliss with her dearest friend when they would be always together." There was a young man of the town, who about this time began to pay marked attentions to Miss Hearn, about which Miss Duer remonstrated with her in the most passionate manner, telling her that she would shoot the man that took her friend from her. A Miss Foster was also a friend whom Miss Hearn was very fond of, and the two began to be very close friends. On the morning of the 4th of November Miss Foster and Miss Hearn had taken a walk together, and upon her return home she found a note from Miss Duer requesting her to call at her house, as she wished to see her urgently. Late in the afternoon she went with her little sister, and when the two met, Miss Duer asked Miss Hearn to take a walk with her the next day in the woods. With the fear of a possible repetition of the former shoot in her mind, she very decidedly refused. This appeared to arouse all the fire of jealousy of Miss Duer's nature, and she passionately, and upon her knees, begged that her request might be complied with, but in vain.

The next day at an early hour, Miss Duer called at Miss Hearn's house and was shown into the sitting- room where the latter was sitting with her mother. The conversation that occurred in the room was of a general nature, and nothing was said there of the walk. When Miss Duer was about to go Mrs. Hearn requested her daughter to accompany her to the door, and the two girls passed out in the passage. After a few moments had elapsed a shot was heard and Miss Hearn rushed back in the room with the blood streaming from a pistol shot to the mouth. She was immediately placed under medical treatment, when it was discovered that the ball had entered the mouth and lodged about an inch deep near the right upper jaw. Miss Duer had followed her in with a smoking pistol in her hand, but did not remain long. A young man named Clark was near the house and heard the shot, and when he appeared Miss Hearn was lying upon the sofa in the sitting-room, while Miss Duer in a frantic manner, was rushing about crying wildly: "I have shot her; oh my God, she will die." Miss Hearn lingered for a time between life and death, being at times delirious, and raving. She would hold up her right arm before her face in her moments of mental derangements, calling out nervously, "Lillie, don't shoot me; I will go with you and always love you." The arm had been bandaged on account of a severe burn, supposed to have been caused by the flash of powder when she was shot. Much has been said and written about what really occurred at time of shooting.

(To be continued)

Footnote: Lillie Duer was from Pocomoke, not Newark as the newspaper article had stated in error in a previous posting.

Blueberry Festival This Weekend

Police Searching For Missing Mother And Four Children

HARRINGTON, Del. - Harrington Police need your help finding four young children and their mother, 41-year-old Jodie Roundtree who is also known as Jodie Miller or Jodie Brown.

Police say she left her Ward Street home earlier this month with four of her 6 children.

 If you know where the family might be, police are asking you to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Outdoor Burning Bans In Somerset and Worcester Counties

Md.- Both Somerset and Worcester counties issued outdoor burning bans on Monday. Both bans are effective immediately.

Somerset County's ban applies to all outdoor ignition sources, including campfires, bonfires, fireworks, leaf, brush, grass and trash burning and other similar methods of open incineration. Cooking with contained barbecue grills and charcoal grills are still permissible. All existing outdoor burn permits have been rescinded.

The ban is in effect until further notice.

Worcester County's burn ban applies to all outdoor ignition sources with the following exceptions:
  • Proper use of gas and charcoal grills;
  • Campfires at the county's commercial, state and federal campgrounds;
  • Permitted official Ocean City bonfires;
  • Private property recreational campfires which are limited to a fire area of 2 feet with a height of 3 feet;
  • Public fireworks displays;
  • Volunteer fire company training exercises
Worcester County's burn ban will remain in effect until the dry conditions dissipate. In addition, all existing outdoor burn permits have been rescinded. 

Source;  WBOC

Fire Ruled Arson In Pocomoke Apartment Building


The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office is assisting the Pocomoke Police Department with a fire investigation at Lynnhaven Acres Apartments. 

The apartment complex is located at 806 Lynnhaven Drive, Pocomoke, Maryland. 

The Pocomoke PD was requested to respond to the above mentioned address for reported smoke in a structure. 

Upon their arrival they observed a small amount of smoke in an apartment building with burnt paper lying on the ground just outside of the apartment building. 

 Pocomoke PD reported the burnt paper was hanging on a board just inside the door and was removed and extinguished prior to their arrival.  The fire was intentionally set or arson. 

 Anyone with additional information should contact Chief Deputy Matt Owens at 410-632-5666 ext. 2 or

TIME MACHINE ... June, 1879 (Part 2 of 5)

Please note: Due to its length the postings for this article which began on Sunday will continue during this week.


(As published in the Warren Ledger, Warren, Pa.)


Details of the most remarkable crime on record.

A Woman Who Wanted To Marry One Of Her Own Sex.

Baltimore, May 27.- The trial of Miss Lillie Duer on an indictment for fatally shooting her once intimate friend and associate, Miss Ella Hearn, is fixed for tomorrow, at Snow Hill, Worcester County, Md.

(PART 2)

It seems strange that she could love such an unsexed being as Miss Duer appears to be, from what is told of her. She would smoke with the sang froid of a Frenchman, and was even fond of tobacco in its other forms. Her dresses were always worn short, and a little jacket with inside pockets, like a boy's, filled with tobacco or licorice, and a boy's hat, which she tipped when acknowledging a salute, composed the most striking articles of her usual costume. The young girls with whom she associated tell numerous stories of her idiosyncrasies. She never cared for the society of the sterner sex and would make hot love like a Romeo to her female friends. Sometimes they laugh these strange fancies away, at others she would frighten them with her vehemence, and they would run away from her. She was always a mystery and a young lady who knew her well says it was a favorite theory of hers that two women could be quite as happy and get along quite as well married as a woman and a man. In all outdoor sports she excelled her lady friends, and could jump, shout, and play base ball as well as any young man in the town. She always carried a pistol and was an expert shot. It is said that all of her dresses were made with a pocket for her pistol, and it is certain that she always carried one and was fond of using it. But with all these peculiarities she was looked upon in Pocomoke as a bright, intelligent woman, with queer notions, to be sure, but which time would most likely correct. I watched Miss Duer closely as she sat talking quietly but with animation with me in her father's parlor yesterday for some indication of the strange characteristics she is said to possess, but in the somewhat melancholy cast of her countenance and the calmness with which her eyes met mine, there was nothing to suggest anything peculiar about her.

The tragedy occurred on the 5th of November last. The professed friendship of Miss Duer had become very unpleasant to Miss Hearn, and every effort was made to break off the acquaintance. Miss Duer chafed at this, and would frequently upbraid her "dearest friend" for the coldness of her manner and the evident weakness of her affection. The truth was that Miss Hearn had reason to fear that her life was not safe with her. Upon one occasion while the two girls were in the woods gathering leaves for decorative purposes, Miss Hearn started home some distance ahead of her companion, who called upon her to wait. Not obtaining instant obedience to her somewhat abrupt command she called again quite sharply. This second summons was not heeded, when without any warning Miss Duer pulled out her pistol and shot twice at the now thoroughly frightened girl. When asked why she shot the only reply was that if she had not halted then the next shot would have been more effective than the previous ones.

(To be continued)

Suspected Drug Dealer Arrested After Running Over OCPD Bike Officer

A Pennsylvania man suspected of being a drug dealer has been arrested following a chase and search early this morning in Ocean City.

Police there say at a quarter to 2 this morning, bike officers tried to arrest Michael McGovern of Williamsport, Pennsylvania for selling an undisclosed amount of drugs to an undercover detective. That’s when they say the chase began on the Boardwalk at 19th Street, as McGovern tried to start his car and get away, hitting a bike officer and dragging him.

Police say he bailed out of his car on Marlin Drive and jumped into the canal off Herring Way. Police followed him up to 28th street, where he was eventually arrested.

McGovern has been charged with Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.

On July 16, 2011, at approximately 1:47 am, Ocean City Narcotics Detectives assisted by both plainclothes and uniformed patrol officers attempted to place an individual under arrest for Distribution of Controlled Dangerous Substance to an undercover OCPD Detective.

During the arrest, the suspect identified as Michael Joseph McGovern, 30, of Williamsport, PA, fled from officers in the area of 19th Street and the Boardwalk.  A lookout for McGovern was broadcast over the police radio.

Uniformed OCPD bike patrol officers located McGovern as he was attempting to leave the area in his vehicle.  Officers were able to get to McGovern while he was entering his vehicle; however a struggle took place inside the vehicle with officers on both the passenger and driver’s side.

During the struggle McGovern managed to start his car and put it in reverse, striking and dragging the bike officer who was on the driver’s side and just missing the officer who was on the passenger side.  The bike officer who was dragged on the driver’s side by McGovern’s vehicle eventually was able to escape by falling outside the vehicle and under the driver’s side door, which was still open.

McGovern then became involved in a short vehicular pursuit, before bailing out of his car on the west side of Coastal Highway in the area of Marlin Drive.  Officers continued to pursue McGovern on foot and determined that he had jumped in the water way/canal in the area of 21st Street and the bay.

McGovern was tracked north to the 28th Street area by OCPD personnel, who were assisted by the Maryland State Police Aviation Unit, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources Marine Unit.

Police eventually located McGovern at 4:38 a.m., in a condominium at 413A Eagle Drive.  McGovern was taken into custody. As a result of McGovern’s actions one OCPD bike patrol officer was injured and transported to Atlantic General Medical Center.  The officer was treated for injuries to the hand and arm and released.

McGovern is being held at the Ocean City Public Safety Building and is awaiting an initial appearance before an Ocean City District Court Commissioner.
McGovern is being charged with the following:
-          2 Counts Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance – Marijuana and Ecstasy (MDMA)
-          Leaving the scene of a personal injury accident
-          1st Degree Assault
-          2nd Degree Assault
-          Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer
-          Resisting Arrest
-          Fleeing and Eluding
-          Reckless and Negligent Driving


Atlantic Residents Speak Out Against Septic Plans

Written by
Carol Vaughn
ACCOMAC -- A roomful of Atlantic residents this week spoke their piece about a proposed sewage facility in the town.

But despite a flurry of last-minute phone calls, the Accomack County Planning Commission failed to achieve a quorum.

The commission adjourned its regular monthly meeting without conducting any business.

Atlantic Town Center Properties LLC in April applied for a conditional use permit to construct a remote wastewater treatment plant on Nocks Landing Road in Atlantic to treat sewage from a planned unit development several miles away near the former Dream Roller Rink.

The plant also could be used to treat sewage from Chincoteague, 9 miles away, according to a principal with the company.

But a citizens' group that has been meeting for the last two weeks or so opposes the project. A recent meeting held at the Atlantic firehouse attracted some 130 people.

About 140 people have signed a petition sent to county officials opposing the facility.

Atlantic resident Ronnie Thomas said about 120 people opposed to the sewage plant were prepared to attend this week's Planning Commission meeting, but he said, "I had heard rumors it was going to be tabled, so we called everybody off."

Some who came prepared to speak during a public comment period wondered aloud afterward whether the lack of a quorum happened purposefully.

Jack Waterfield, who with his brother owns a farm on the north side of the proposed plant, spoke after the meeting about a July 13 memorandum from Accomack County zoning administrator Dave Fluhart to interim planning director Tom Brockenbrough.

In the memo, Fluhart stated that in his opinion, the conditional use permit application "should not be accepted or processed" because the plant, as a remote, private facility that is not replacing a failing facility, does not meet requirements of the county zoning ordinance for the agricultural district.

Waterfield had planned to speak to the Planning Commission about his concern about a pond on the property where the facility is proposed, which he said flows into White's Branch and then into Watt's Bay.

Two county planning department employees this week toured the site and Waterfield showed them where the branch flows through three adjacent properties and then joins tidal wetlands on his farm, where it empties into Watt's Bay -- making the branch a resource protected area under county law, Waterfield said, citing potential problems from stormwater runoff as well as hurricane flooding.

"Seven hundred thousand to 1.5 million gallons of sewage per day won't stop coming and has nowhere to go but into Watt's Bay in any of these scenarios," he said in a prepared statement.

Bill Paige, president of the homeowners' association of Eagle Sound Estates, a subdivision located at the eastern end of Nocks Landing Road, also had planned to speak to the Commissioners.

In his prepared statement, he said he did not know a wastewater treatment plant was planned for less than a mile away from his home until he read about it in the newspaper.

"Like many who live in Atlantic, I felt blindsided and disrespected," Paige said, also citing the developers' "unusual decision to apply for the permit to construct before first applying for (a) Virginia Pollution Abatement" permit from the Department of Environmental Quality.

Dan Hoppe, a resident of nearby Wishart's Point, also planned to speak. He has two concerns, he said, the first being: "If I have to have a closed septic system living by the water, how can you have an open system that large on that side of the water without concerns about spillage into the water?"

Hoppe said he is also con-cerned about a decline in property values if the sewage plant is built, which would affect tax revenue.

"We're looking at $500,000 homes going down $200,000 -- that's lost revenue to the county," he said, adding, "Do we need a septic system? Yes, we do; but we do not need a developer to tell us where we need it. We need the Planning Commission to do a study on what's best for Accomack County."


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pocomoke Mayor and Council Meeting

Written by
Bill Kerbin
POCOMOKE CITY -- After a policy change, any group that rents or uses a city facility and does not already have liability insurance coverage will be required to provide the coverage under a new program.

The city's new Tenant User Liability Insurance Program is sponsored by the Local Government Insurance Trust and the National League of Cities.

According to City Manager Russell W. Blake, this will protect the city from any problems that arise during the time of use. He added that the insurance can be purchased online at

Timothy S. Ailsworth, executive director of the insurance trust, estimated that the cost of the insurance would be $75 to $150 depending on the event. It could be paid by credit card over the computer.

Ailsworth was at a municipal meeting to present a $3,000 check to the town to help finance the Pocomoke Police Department's extended high-speed pursuit training. In his letter, he said that this grant was "an example of how LGIT and local governments can work together to address risk management concerns."

The council voted to sign two agreements with Becker Morgan Group for architectural work on city projects. One was to pay the company $24,000 for services during the construction phase of the new restaurant between the Discovery Center and the Pocomoke River. Gillis Gilkerson was awarded the bid for construction of the new building.

The other agreement was for design services in the remodeling of the former automotive body shop on Market Street as the new police station. The agreement calls for the town to pay the architects 7 percent of the total construction costs, or the lowest bona fide bid. The estimated cost of the remodeling is about $100,000.

In other business, the council approved the purchase of four rounds of golf to help the Col. Richardson High School golf tournament; was introduced to the town's newest police officer, David Mason; and discussed possible appointments to the city boards and commissions.

Councilman Robert Hawkins reported that a total of 680,477 tons of material was shipped on the Pocomoke River during the past year. Also, the U.S. Coast Guard spent $200,000 replacing markers in the area.


T I M E M A C H I N E ... June, 1879 (Part 1 of 5)

Please note: Due to its length the posting for this article will be in five sections, today and during the coming week.


(As published in the Warren Ledger, Warren, Pa.)


Details of the most remarkable crime on record.

A Woman Who Wanted To Marry One Of Her Own Sex.

(PART 1)

Baltimore, May 27.- The trial of Miss Lillie Duer on an indictment for fatally shooting her once intimate friend and associate, Miss Ella Hearn, is fixed for tomorrow, at Snow Hill, Worcester County, Md. The case excites extraordinary comment, which is not alone confined to that section of the state. A correspondent writing from Snow Hill states that the town is rapidly filling up with strangers and that the trial is the sole and absorbing topic of conversation. Public sentiment is divided, with the majority of the opinion that Miss Duer will be acquitted. She is now a prisoner in the National Hotel under surveillance of officials. Since her removal to the hotel she has borne her imprisonment with comparative cheerfulness, and is allowed the companionship of her intimate relatives and friends under certain restrictions. Her sister is her constant and devoted attendant. Miss Duer spends her time principally in reading, preferring books of a romantic or poetic character. Byron is her favorite poet. Her friends do not think that she fully realizes the gravity of the charges for which she stands indicted.

The sad tragedy of last November, in which Miss Ella Hearn, a beautiful young girl, just blooming into womanhood, lost her life by the hand of Miss Lilly Duer, is again the paramount matter of interest in this quaint little Eastern shore town. Miss Ella Hearn, the victim, rests peacefully in the old Episcopal churchyard. She was originally from Laurel, Del., where she spent most of her youthful days, and where her pretty face and sweet ways are remembered by a large number of friends and acquaintances. That she was the fairest and most lovely girl in all the county about was the testimony of all who knew her.

At the time of her death she was scarcely seventeen. She was a girl of high spirits, and was gay, cheerful, and dashing, in her disposition. She was highly esteemed among her friends and those who knew her as a young girl of sweet and pure disposition. Although her education was limited to the acquirements possible at the high school at Newtown (Pocomoke) she was fairly accomplished, without any brilliant attainments or pretensions.

For some years during the last of her school days she had permitted rather than encouraged a growing intimacy with Miss Lillie Duer, whose affections and passion at last resulted in her death. The families of the two girls, while very respectable, do not belong to the aristocratic society here. Miss Lillie Duer is about twenty or twenty-one years of age and she has lived all her life in Newark. She is not at all pretty, and is somewhat awkward in her movements, as though her female habiliments trammeled her, and she would better get about in male attire. Her eyes are large and unflinching; she meets your gaze with a steady, firm, somewhat defiant, stare. The face is thin and clearly cut, and her forehead is strikingly high and broad. Her thin lips close tightly, which causes the firmness of her expression to strike the observer at once. With short and very dark hair parted at the side, she wears a roll at the top of her head. Altogether the face is one which would not fail to excite interest anywhere. She talks quite intelligently and with ease, appears to have entire confidence in herself and acts as though she would much prefer to be a man than a woman. Her intimacy with Miss Hearn began some years ago, and during last spring and summer the two girls were constantly together, much like brothers. Miss Duer appears to have obtained a mastery over her more womanly, but weaker minded companion, and it was an affection more mixed with fear than love that controlled Miss Hearn's actions.

(To be continued)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SEAFOOD FEAST Raffle Tickets.........


Mt. Vernon Volunteer Fire Company
27440 Mt. Vernon Road
Princess Anne, Maryland

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased from any member

The Seafood Feast Includes:2 Bushels of #1 Crabs
10 lbs. Shrimp (heads off)
3 dz Soft Crabs
100 Little Neck Clams
3 dz Ears of Corn
30 Pack of Beer OR 36 Pack of Sodas (winners choice)

Winner to contact Beach to Bay Seafood Co. to arrange pick-up time.

Package can be picked up in its entirety or any part of on Saturday, September 3, 2011.

 Entire package must be picked up before September 30, 2011.

Drawing will be August 18th at the conclusion of our regular Company meeting.

Thanks Cindi!



STARTS TOMORROW ... It's 1879 and Pocomoke City's attention is on the trial of Miss Lillie Duer, a young woman indicted for the fatal shooting of her 17-year-old "dearest friend" Miss Ella Hearn.

Look for a facinating original newspaper account in postings beginning this Sunday and continuing throughout next week on the Pocomoke Public Eye!


Don't Forget The CAR WASH - TODAY

Show your support for these young men and women in training to be part of the wonderful fire department Pocomoke is proud of.
Have the cleanest vehicle in town!!!
The Cadets of The Pocomoke City Vol. Fire Co. will have a CAR WASH on
Saturday, July 16 from 10 til 2
at the fire station.....1410 Market St.

Money raised from the car wash will buy equipment for the Cadet Program of the Pocomoke City Vol. Fire Co.

Thank you for your support!!

Touring Opportunities This Summer- Or Anytime.....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mt. Vernon Volunteer Fire Co. FUNDRAISER

Mt. Vernon Volunteer Fire Company's
 Pit Beef BBQ Dinner
27440 Mt. Vernon Road
Princess Anne, MD

Saturday, July 16, 2011
11:00 AM   until   SOLD OUT

Pit Beef BBQ Dinner includes: Pit Beef BBQ Sandwich and fries
Cost: $9

Also available for purchase: Baked goods, sodas, water
Tables available to eat there or carry-out.

All proceeds and donations will be used towards the purchase of a new BRUSH TRUCK!


Johnny Mo the musical chef
The 6th Annual Music For The Hungry
A family friendly day full of fun, food, beverages and
live music
to support the
Foodbank on the Eastern Shore of VA
Onancock's Biggest Summer Party!
$5 admission
The big top is up at Onancock School for tomorrow's
Music for the Hungry!

Seven bands, noon to 8 p.m. Kids activties, BBQ and more!
Just $5 admission benefits the
Eastern Shore Foodbank.

Location :: Onancock
Time :: Noon     - 8:00 PM
Held on the grounds of The Historic Onancock School
College Avenue
Onancock, VA

Panel Rejects Sifrit’s Latest Appeal

Written by
Shawn J. Soper

OCEAN CITY -- Convicted killer Benjamin Sifrit, who, along with his wife Erika, brutally murdered and dismembered a Virginia couple vacationing in Ocean City in 2002, had his latest bid for a new trial rejected last week.

After exhausting an initial appeal process based on the claim his defense counsel was ineffective during his 2003 trial, Benjamin Sifrit embarked on a different tack in an attempt to get his conviction reversed and gain a new trial when he filed a petition in the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2008 arguing the prosecution team, led by then Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd, used inconsistent theories of the events surrounding the crimes to gain the convictions of both he and his wife, Erika.

When Maryland’s highest court denied the petition, Sifrit last November filed a petition in U.S. District Court for a writ of habeas corpus against the Maryland Attorney General and the warden of the facility where he is serving a 38-year sentence, essentially arguing he is being held illegally and should be given a new trial because prosecutors presented inconsistent theories against he and his wife during their separate trials in 2003.

“This is a case where the issue presented has not been squarely addressed,” Sifrit wrote in his appeal. “It is an unusual situation because the facts concerning the claim have not been applied to the petitioner’s case. Benjamin Sifrit was denied due process of law and the right to a fair trial because the state used inconsistent factual theories to obtain convictions against both Benjamin and Erika Sifrit.”

A three-judge U.S. District Court panel agreed Benjamin Sifrit’s due process was not denied during his trial and denied his application for a certificate of appealability, which would have opened the door for a new trial had it been granted.

“When the district court denies relief on the merits, a prisoner satisfies this standard by demonstrating that reasonable jurists would find that the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims is debatable or wrong,” the order reads. “We have independently reviewed the record and conclude that Sifrit has not made the requisite showing. Accordingly, we deny a certificate of appealability, deny Sifrit’s request for appointment of counsel and dismiss the appeal.”

The federal court judges denied the appeal outright without any further testimony.

“We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aide the decisional process,” the order reads.


Accomack County General Election

The U.S. Attorney has given the go ahead to give Accomack County a general election, meaning Accomack County voters will be voting for all nine Supervisors this November.

The routine measure goes along with the Census every ten years and establishes the districts to be represented by Supervisors.

However, this year Tangier Island will be in District 6 due to an increase in the population. No other changes were made to last cycle's election districts.

Accomack County citizens can expect information by mail as to where their polling place will be.


Johnson Gets 90 Days In Jail

Written by
Jennifer Shutt
SNOW HILL -- Tia Johnson was ordered to spend 90 days in jail for arranging and participating in multiple thefts from the Pocomoke City Walmart during the past two years while she worked for the store.

Johnson was charged earlier this year after Walmart officials confronted her for secretly loading gift cards, under-ringing merchandise and taking information off old receipts to benefit herself financially.

In court, she pleaded guilty to theft scheme of $1,000-$10,000 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but 90 days suspended. She will also have to pay $1,860 in restitution.

From February 2009 through February 2011, Deputy State's Attorney Cheryl Jacobs said, Walmart estimates a total of $9,000 in revenue was lost as a result of Johnson's actions.

Jacobs said surveillance video showed Johnson under-ringing several people, charging them less than the marked price of the items they bought. On at least one occasion, the store documented those people going out to the parking lot and putting the merchandise in Johnson's car.

Angela DiPietro, Johnson's defense lawyer, said as part of the plea, Johnson was only admitting guilt in the thefts that took place during January and February of this year. Johnson's restitution of just under $2,000 stems directly from thefts in those two months.

"I made a mistake," said Johnson just before being sentenced. When Judge Theodore R. Eschenbeurg asked Johnson what her motivation was, she replied she wasn't thinking, and was being "dumb."

"This went on for quite a while," Eschenburg said. "It may have been a dumb mistake, but you made it over and over."

DiPietro said a friend of Johnson's family was "in a bad situation at the time."

"Sometimes people are in a tough spot, and they make a bad decision," DiPietro said.

Eschenburg did grant Johnson work release, saying he wants her to be able to keep her current job so she can pay restitution as quickly as possible.

In exchange for pleading guilty to the theft scheme, four additional charges against Johnson, including two counts of theft less than $100, theft less than $1,000 and theft scheme less than $1,000, were dropped.

The maximum penalty for the charge Johnson pleaded guilty to would have been a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. When combined with the additional misdemeanor counts, if Johnson had gone to trial and was found guilty of all five counts, she could have faced more than 13 years in prison.

Johnson has one previous conviction for theft for an amount less than $500 in Wicomico County in 2002.
In an unrelated court case, Worcester prosecutors forced Johnson to testify in the June murder trial of Justin Hadel, who was convicted of murdering Christine Sheddy, a mother of three. That conviction solved a prominent cold-case murder investigation. Johnson testified she was with Sheddy and Hadel in the days before Sheddy disappeared in November 2007 and that Hadel had confessed to her he'd killed Sheddy, whose body was discovered in a Snow Hill yard more than two years after her disappearance.

Prosecutors did not charge Johnson with any crimes connected to Sheddy's death, but they had to obtain a judge's order compelling her to testify in Hadel's trial. Hadel, who pleaded not guilty, was convicted on June 15 of killing Sheddy. He is set to be sentenced later this year.


$9,000 in lost revenue and only $1,860.00 restitution.  Sooner or later Ms. Johnson's luck HAS to run out!!  And it will........oh,  yes it will. 

Burned Out Mini Van Found On Rural Road In Bishopville

BISHOPVILLE — In an unusual find, fire marshals are trying to learn more about a charred minivan found on a rural road, after a fire that burned out without being doused by a fire department.

The Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office says the fire happened at 12060 Industrial Park Road, in a wooded section of the dirt roadway.

 A passerby reported seeing the Chrysler Town & Country at 5 p.m. July 13, but officials said the fire appeared to have happened the previous night.

Anyone with further information is asked to contact Chief Deputy Matthew Owens at 410-632-5666 or email at

Source;|newswell|text|Worcester County Times|s

Rocket Launch Posponed

NASA is postponing the launch of two suborbital sounding rockets from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on July 15.

 The postponement will allow scientist to review the results from two previous rockets launched from Wallops on July 10 and make adjustments to the project to enhance the science data obtained during the flights.

Further information on the mission is available on the Internet at: 

The next launch currently scheduled at the Wallops Flight Facility is a Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket carrying experiments from four universities. The launch is set for 7 to 10 a.m. July 21. The backup launch day is July 22.

James Ballard Gets Sentenced To 30 Years In Fatal Stabbing

Written by
Jennifer Shutt
SNOW HILL -- James Edward Ballard will spend the next 30 years behind bars for stabbing and killing Russell Matthew Bailey, the maximum possible sentence for his crime.

Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton sentenced Ballard during a court hearing Friday.

Bailey's mother, Mattie Fletcher, spoke to the judge about how her life, and the life of her family, has changed since the death of her 18-year-old-son.

"It's just been one thing after another since the death of my son," Fletcher said. "It's been hard... I've just been trying to take it one day at a time."

Ballard was charged with first-degree murder last fall for stabbing Bailey after an altercation in Pocomoke City. He was found guilty of second-degree murder at trial.

During the jury trial, witnesses testified that Ballard, Bailey and several others were involved in a fight the day Bailey was killed. Ballard called police, and once they arrived, everyone scattered, according to witness testimony.

Ballard stayed in the area and later saw Bailey returning from behind a house on the 700 block of Ninth Street.

A witness, Keonte Laws testified at trial that once Bailey saw Ballard, Bailey turned to run away, slipping on wet grass and slamming his shoulder into the side of the house as Ballard caught up to him.

"It looked like a punch... but when (Ballard) pulled his hand back you could see the blade of the knife," Laws testified.

During the sentencing hearing, State's Attorney Beau Oglesby read the results of a pre-sentence investigation that gathered the aspects of Ballard's criminal history. He rattled off crimes ranging from possession of cocaine to violating probation to shoplifting.

"You started as a juvenile with assault and battery," Groton said from the bench, later citing additional crimes -- resisting arrest, and fleeing and eluding. "This indicates to me you are a person with no respect for authority."

Ballard took the opportunity to speak during the sentencing, and apologized to Fletcher.

"Yes, I have been in trouble half of my life," Ballard said. "I didn't mean to kill nobody."

When rendering the sentence, Groton told Ballard that it is unfortunate there are "some people in Pocomoke who feel like the way to solve these kind of problems is with guns and knives."

Source;|newswell|text|Worcester County Times|s

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Walmart Theft Case Against Tia Johnson

Tia Johnson was in court today for FIVE  charges brought against her for theft from Walmart from  2/26/09 until 2/20/11.

Of the five charges brought against her she will be serving time for only one charge -  Theft-Scheme: $1,000 to under $10,000.

Serve Time: Yrs:Mos:2 Days:29  Hours:0
Probation : Yrs:Mos:0 Days:Hours:0
Fine Amount:500 Fine Due Date:CWS Hours:Credit Time Served:0

And a judgement placed against her:
Judgment Date:07/14/2011  Index Date:07/14/2011  Status Date:07/14/2011
Status Entered Amount:  $1860.75Judgment   Type:Money
For: Walmart
Against:Johnson, Tia Lynn
Judgment Comments:Ordered to be paid through Parole and Probation as directed.

Tia Lynn Johnson was one of the key witnesses in the Justin Hadel murder trial in which Justin (Johnson's cousin) was convicted  of 1st degree murder of Christine Sheddy.

Maybe this is the  beginning ..............

Cracker Barrel Supports Wounded Warrior Project

Help Cracker Barrel create the 'World's LONGEST Front Porch!'

Submit your photo to support Wounded Warrior Project

Helping our country’s wounded warriors is a cause we care deeply about. That’s why we are asking Cracker Barrel guests from across the U.S. to join us in supporting Wounded Warrior Project. For every picture you submit, we’ll donate $1 to Wounded Warrior Project, up to $35,000.

Here’s how you can help. Go to the front porch at any one of our Cracker Barrel locations or even your very own and take a picture. 
Be sure to:
  • Take the picture while you are seated on a porch
  • Spread your arms out as shown in the pictures above
  • Smile!
After taking the picture, come back to this web page and upload it by clicking on the button below. You can also email the photo to