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Charges dropped against man in Heather Ridge Drive home invasion
Courtesy of Frederick News-Post
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Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a Frederick man accused of participating in a 2015 home invasion on Heather Ridge Drive.

Clarence Anthony Baker, 35, faced counts of armed robbery, home invasion, second-degree assault, being an accessory to a crime and other charges after police said he was involved in the robbery.

An assistant state's attorney announced Tuesday that none of the charges would be prosecuted because of lack of evidence, just as Baker's trial was to begin in Frederick County Circuit Court.

"Mr. Baker was never alleged to have entered the victims' apartment or directly threatened either of them. Due to recent developments, and after meetings with witnesses, we concluded that the testimony and evidence was insufficient to present this particular case to a jury," Assistant State's Attorney Jacob Craven said in an email, explaining why the charges were dropped.

Baker declined to comment as he left the courthouse. Before Tuesday's hearing, Baker had been out on $500,000 bail since Oct. 28, according to court documents.

However, his attorney, Jason W. Shoemaker, said in an email that Baker was relieved to have the situation behind him without the stress and expense of a jury trial.

"We are all very happy when the system works, and this case is certainly a good example of our criminal justice system working well," Shoemaker wrote.

The charges stemmed from a violent home invasion that took place Sept. 26 in the 1000 block of Heather Ridge Drive.

Residents told police that two men kicked in the door, demanded money and threatened them. One put a gun in a woman's mouth and told her not to make him use it, according to charging documents.

Police responding to the robbery stopped Baker, who was driving an SUV away from the area with its headlights turned off, Officer Frank Rucci of the Frederick Police Department testified in court last month.

Rucci said that after he stopped the vehicle, noticed movement in the back and asked Baker if he was alone, two men fled out of the back seats.

Rucci also saw a gun on the front passenger seat near Baker, he said. That led police to charge Baker with transporting a handgun in a vehicle.

It is illegal in Maryland to knowingly transport a handgun in a vehicle, Shoemaker said, but the gun charge against Baker was dismissed because evidence indicates Baker may not have known it was there and his DNA was on neither of the two guns recovered from the vehicle.

Baker was not one of the two men identified in the home invasion, Shoemaker noted. Witnesses said the two men who committed the home invasion each had a gun. Two guns were left behind in the SUV driven by Baker when the men ran from the rear of the vehicle, and none were found on the two suspects when they were caught by police. Shoemaker said that would have allowed him to successfully argue that Baker was unaware the guns were in his vehicle.

A second man charged in the case, Darrick Michael Jackson, has a trial scheduled to begin May 17. He faces charges of armed robbery, home invasion, fourth-degree burglary, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, possession of a firearm following a felony conviction, theft between $1,000 and $10,000, and theft less than $1,000.

Since Jackson is still awaiting trial, Craven declined to comment on how the dismissal of Baker's charges might affect Jackson's case.

Tyrelle J. Sullivan, 29, of Frederick, was also charged in the home invasion. He entered an Alford plea to theft. In an Alford plea, the accused does not admit wrongdoing but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Sullivan was sentenced on May 4 to 18 months in jail.
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