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Baltimore Crime Beat Police and court news
Repeat sex offender apologizes, gets 30 years in prison

Nelson Bernard Clifford, the repeat sex offender who won multiple acquittals after taking the stand and saying the alleged attacks were consensual, was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison Thursday by a judge who said he had exposed "cracks in the system."

Clifford, 37, tearfully apologized and begged Chief Judge Alfred Nance for help, acknowledging a long-standing problem that he realized at a young age. He said he never received sufficient treatment, even while serving nearly 10 years for a sex offense.

"I believe the state of Maryland failed me," Clifford said, reading from a prepared statement. "I didn't have to turn out this way."

His remarks were a far cry from his previous appearances in court, where he coolly took the witness stand and said his victims had made up their stories, in some cases labeling them prostitutes or saying they had cheated on their boyfriends with him.

"Mr. Clifford is persuasive," Nance said. "Mr. Clifford is also manipulative."

Two of Clifford's previous...

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Baltimore police union: Cops more afraid of going to jail than getting shot

The president of the Baltimore police union on Thursday said that criminals have become "empowered" following the recent unrest and that, with six officers charged in Freddie Gray's death, city police are more "afraid" of being arrested than shot on duty.

Gray, 25, died a week after suffering a severed spinal cord and other injuries in police custody. His death led to more than a week of protests and later rioting, that prompted a citywide curfew and the deployment of the National Guard.

"The criminals are taking advantage of the situation in Baltimore since the unrest," said Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3. "Criminals feel empowered now. There is no respect. Police are under siege in every quarter. They are more afraid of going to jail for doing their jobs properly than they are of getting shot on duty."

The union released the statement on Twitter a day after the officers charged in Gray's death filed a motion to have the trial moved out of Baltimore. Police...

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Woman, young boy are city's latest homicide victims

A woman and a young boy are the latest homicide victims in Baltimore's deadliest month in years.

Baltimore Police said they responded to the 100 block of Upmanor Road in the Uplands neighborhood at 8:19 a.m. Thursday for a report of a shooting. They found a 31-year-old woman and a boy who appeared to be about 8, both shot in the head.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene. Their deaths bring the total number of city homicides in May to 38, the highest monthly total since 1996. There have been 111 homicides in the city this year.

The boy's exact age is unknown at this time, said police, who did not release information about the relationship between the woman and the child.

Homicide detectives ask anyone with information to call 410-396-2100.

Police also reported Thursday morning that two other shootings occurred Wednesday night.

At 10:50 p.m., police found a 27-year-old man in the 3600 block of Clifton Ave. suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to the hospital, where...

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Dundalk man shoots himself, tells police he was shot during robbery

Baltimore County police charged a Dundalk man after he shot himself but initially told officers he was shot during a robbery.

Officers were called at about 6 p.m. Tuesday to the 1900 block of Armco Way, where James Lee Pfarr, 38, told officers he had been shot in the hand at close range. He said the injury occurred during an attempted robbery behind the 7-Eleven at Wise Avenue and Church Road but police determined that he actually shot himself inside his home.

Pfarr was taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released.

He's charged with false statement to an officer and reckless endangerment, and remains at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $30,000 bail. No attorney was listed in online court records.

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Two York, Pa., women charged in Lansdowne stabbing

Two York, Pa., women have been charged and are awaiting extradition to Maryland after Baltimore County police said they stabbed a man in Lansdowne early Saturday.

Police identified the suspects on Thursday as Keshawn Monee Ellis and Brittany Nicole Marie Turek, both 23, of the 1100 block of West Poplar St.

Police said they got into an argument with the victim at an apartment in the 2900 block of Lakebrook Circle, just after midnight, when they stabbed him, police said.

The victim was taken to an area hospital and is expected to survive.

Detectives have obtained arrest warrants for Ellis and Turek. They were taken into custody in Pennsylvania and are awaiting extradition.

The county's violent crimes unit is investigating the incident.

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Authorities announce drug charges in 'pill mill' scheme

Sixteen people have been federally indicted on drug conspiracy and other charges in connection with what authorities call "pill mills," including one business in Elkridge, posing as pain management clinics.

Authorities on Thursday described how clinics in Elkridge, Oxon Hill and Greenbelt, and in Washington, D.C., doled out prescriptions of oxycodone to "runners" who posed as patients without a medical need for prescriptions, who would then hand over the pills to distributors to be sold on the street, said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. Those charged include clinic operators, who profited from operations at the clinic and sales of oxycodone.

"The street value of these diverted oxycodone pills is many times the retail value at pharmacies, so that's why this crime is so attractive," Rosenstein said at a news conference announcing the indictments.

"The most significant drug dealers that we are charging today are not standing on street corners handing out dime bags of heroin. They're people...

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