Parolee charged with attempted murder

Judge delays sentencing for David Watson
March 15, 2013

A Sussex County Superior Court Judge has held off sentencing a man for violating his probation as he awaits trial for attempted murder.

Laurel resident David Watson and Delmar, Md., resident Orrin Joudrey are accused of shooting into the homes of Maryland and Delaware police officers.  Watson and Joudrey were arrested Jan. 2 and charged with attempted first-degree murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, reckless endangering, conspiracy and other charges.

Watson, 24, was arraigned Jan. 24 in Sussex County Superior Court.  He pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested a jury trial, which has not yet been scheduled.  At the time of his arrest, Watson was on probation for first-degree robbery and other charges from 2011, and he was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Judge T. Henley Graves said he was satisfied Watson violated his probation for testing positive for marijuana.  “The marijuana is admitted,” he said. “That would not be the major sentencing driver here.”

Graves said Watson’s possession of firearms and ammunition would largely determine his violation of probation sentence.

Watson entered the courtroom in a white Department of Corrections jumpsuit, wrists and ankles shackled, for his violation of probation hearing, March 7. If not for numerous tattoos on his arms and neck, anyone in the gallery could have mistaken Watson for a child – small in stature and sandwiched between Public Defenders Dean Johnson and John Daniello at the defense table.

Delaware State Police Sgt. Gerald Windish was the only witness to testify at the hearing.  Windish said he was one of the lead investigators in the shooting case.

Windish said a shooting was reported in Laurel, Dec. 27, at the home of a Dewey Beach Police officer.  Later that day, the Wicomico Bureau of Investigations in Maryland said they were investigating three similar complaints; one occurred in Parsonsburg, Md., the same night as the Laurel shooting, he said.

In each of the four cases, a marked police car was parked in front of the residences where shots were fired, Windish said.

Windish said police pulled over Joudrey, Jan. 2, for driving under the influence of alcohol.  He said police found the same type of ammunition in Joudrey’s car that was used in the Laurel and Parsonsburg, Md., shootings.

Police also found a video of Watson firing a shotgun on Joudrey’s cell phone. Deputy Attorney General Adam Gelof called the video a flagrant violation of Watson’s probation.

Johnson asked why police searched Joudrey’s cell phone without a warrant. Windish said Joudrey was arrested near the location of the Laurel shooting.  “There’s a public safety concern at that point,” he said.

Windish also said the 7.62 x 54 ammunition found in Joudrey’s car was a rare and distinct round.  The ammunition was developed by the Russian Empire in the 1890s, and it is used in various assault rifles, sniper rifles and machine guns.  “We took it as an investigative measure,” he said.

Police searched Watson’s Laurel home twice, Windish said.  During the first search, Jan. 3, police found the shotgun used in the cell phone video, 7.62 x 54 ammunition and spent casings consistent with the rounds used in the shooting, he said.

Windish testified “187” was spray-painted on the walls of Watson’s basement.  Section 187 of the California Penal Code refers to murder.

During the second search, police uncovered a rifle made to hold 7.62 x 54mm ammunition.  Windish said the rifle was hidden in the attic of Watson’s home.

“We cannot dispute that he is in violation of probation,” Johnson said.  The court has only heard statements from Joudrey’s interview with police; Watson has not yet made a statement about his involvement in the shooting, he said.  “It makes this appear a really bad situation for David,” Johnson said.  “I request that sentencing be deferred.”

Gelof said he did not oppose a deferment of the sentence, but he said any plea bargain offered to Watson would likely involve a presentence investigation, which would require Watson to be interviewed by police.

Graves said he wanted to examine Watson’s criminal record before he decided how to sentence him for violation of probation.

“I want to read the police report of this robbery he’s in violation on,” Graves said.  He did not set another sentencing date.

Joudrey, 20, was arraigned Feb. 21, and also pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled for a case review Monday, March 18.

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