The man suspected of killing three co-workers and critically wounding two others at an Edgewood countertop business last week will be tried first in Delaware, where he was arrested after a second shooting and a subsequent 10-hour manhunt.
Harford County State’s Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly outlined the process for the trials during a Monday news conference, in which he also said Maryland needs harsher penalties for crimes such as the ones Radee Prince is accused of committing here.
Cassilly estimated that Prince, 37, will be tried in Delaware in about six months, then tried in Harford County. The reason, officials in both states say, comes down to parole.
“One of the bases for the procedural decision is that Delaware criminal sentencing law does not provide for parole, whereas parole may be available under Maryland law, meaning that a Delaware sentence will have more certainty,” Cassilly’s office and the Delaware justice department said in a joint statement.
In Delaware, where authorities say Prince shot and wounded a man at an auto shop, Prince faces a slate of charges including first-degree attempted murder and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a sentence of life without parole.
The statement noted Prince also faces the possibility of life sentences in Maryland for the killing of three co-workers at Advanced Granite Solutions. While he faces harsher charges in Maryland, first-degree murder in this state carries the possibility of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole or life imprisonment without parole.
Prince has an extensive criminal record, Delaware authorities have said. Wilmington police said Prince had been arrested 42 times with 15 felony convictions in Delaware, though they did not provide specifics. He was convicted in 2003 of 15 counts of third-degree burglary and was sentenced to 25 years in prison with all but two suspended, according to court records. In 2015, he faced multiple handgun violation charges in Maryland, which were later dropped by Cecil County prosecutors.
Cassilly said he is frustrated that the Maryland justice system “does not have a proportional penalty for three murders and two attempted murders that is any greater than our sister state has for one attempted first-degree murder.”
State Sen. Robert G. Cassilly, who represents Harford County and is the county state’s attorney’s brother, announced at the news conference intentions to introduce a targeted capital punishment bill in the coming legislative session. It would come five years after the General Assembly passed and then-Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill repealing Maryland’s death penalty.
The Republican state legislator said the timing was right in light of the workplace shooting rampage, which came less than two years after two Harford County sheriff’s deputies were fatally shot nearby.
Under the senator’s proposal, crimes carrying a potential for the death penalty would include serial murders, murder of a law enforcement officer and murder of two or more people in a single attack, among other qualifiers.
His proposed method of execution would be a lethal injection with a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. He said this method counters the argument that the death penalty by lethal injection constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment that subjects people to a painful death. He cited the high number of opioid overdoses across the state, including people who have been revived multiple times using the opioid overdose reversal drug known as Narcan.
“It’s hard to imagine that can be such a painful death; otherwise you wouldn’t see that happening repeatedly,” he said. “It must be an OK way to go.”
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, who also attended Monday’s news conference, agreed that stiffer penalties are needed in Maryland.
He did not expand on a motive for the Oct. 18 attack, beyond saying Prince had a “perceived feeling that he was not well-liked” by co-workers.
Police say Prince gathered co-workers at the granite business during work hours and began shooting. He then drove to Delaware, where he shot an acquaintance at a car dealership, police said. The Delaware victim was shot in the head, but was stable and identified Prince to police as his attacker.
Police identified the deceased victims as Bayarsaikhan Tudev, 53; Jose Hidalgo Romero, 34; and Enis Mrvoljak, 48.
Prince is also accused of wounding two other co-workers — Enoc Villegas Sosa, 38, and Jose Roberto Flores Gillen, 37 — who remain in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Prince was arrested later that evening after a brief foot chase near a high school in Newark, Del. Police say he threw a gun after spotting law enforcement approaching him.
A Delaware magistrate ordered Prince held on $2.1 million bail after a Thursday court hearing. A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled in Wilmington on Oct. 31.