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Highland woman pleads to murder in drug deal shooting

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A Highland woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to a second-degree murder charge in Howard County Circuit Court in connection with the fatal shooting of a Laurel man inside his pickup truck earlier this year.

Lauren Elizabeth Maready, 19, of the 12000 block of Lime Kiln Road, pleaded guilty to the murder charge and a gun charge. She is one of four southern Howard County residents charged in the killing of Russell Elbert Rowe, 24, of Laurel, on Jan. 23. 

Co-defendants are: Desmick Jermario Lewis, 22, of Columbia; Amanda Nicole McAdoo, 19, of North Laurel; and Taylor King Pepe, 19, of North Laurel.

Maready is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 4.

On the evening of Jan. 23, first responders arrived at the 9400 block of Sewall Avenue in North Laurel and found a pickup had truck collided with a tree in the front yard of a residence.

Rowe was inside the truck, suffering from multiple gun shot wounds. He was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, police said, and died the following day.

According to the charging documents, police believe Rowe was targeted by the four, who planned to rob him at gunpoint of four Oxycodone pills, valued at approximately $120.

Using Rowe's cell phone, which was recovered at the scene, investigators found 120 text messages exchanged between Rowe and McAdoo. The records also showed correspondence with the other three co-defendants, according to State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.

The text message exchange, which began at 4 p.m. that day, was initiated by McAdoo, who was looking to buy drugs off Rowe, according to the documents. Police used phone records to link the three others charged to the crime. 

Investigators interviewed McAdoo on Jan. 25, when she told police the four planned to rob Rowe, according to the documents.

McAdoo told police she and Lewis, who had the gun, approached Rowe's car and attempted to rob Rowe. As Rowe attempted to drive off, Lewis allegedly fired one shot into the car, according to the charging documents. 

All four then fled, according to the documents. 

Police said they also interviewed Maready, who corroborated McAdoo's story except she allegedly told police Lewis fired the gun twice, according to the documents.  

Kirwan said that Maready drove the car that carried the three other co-defendants to the crime scene. 

Lewis, McAdoo and Pepe each face a first-degree murder charge, assault charges, a felony gun charge, and other charges. Lewis will be tried on Nov. 12. McAdoo will be tried on Aug. 4, and Pepe's trial is scheduled for July 21. 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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