Maryland State Police homicide investigators arrested a Cambridge man on Friday for the murder of a correctional officer in 2001, according to a statement from state police.
Correctional Officer Gregory Guy Collins worked at Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County, at the same time that the accused, John Michael Ingersoll, Jr., was serving time there for burglary and theft convictions in 1997, according to Maryland Judiciary court records and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. It’s unclear whether the two knew each other from their shared time at the prison.
A Dorchester County grand jury indicted Ingersoll, 46, on first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and related gun charges, according to police and court records.
Ingersoll entered a plea of not guilty in Dorchester Circuit Court on Tuesday, contending that the evidence seized in the case was the result of an illegal search and seizure, interception of wire or oral communication, or electronic surveillance, according to court documents filed by Michelle Moodispaw, the public defender representing Ingersoll.
William H. Jones, State’s Attorney for Dorchester County, would not discuss the case.
The documents did not shed light on how Ingersoll was pinpointed as the alleged assailant 18 years after the incident. Neither prosecutors nor police would share any additional information citing the ongoing investigation. Moodispaw could not be reached for comment.
Collins was 31 years old when he was shot and killed during the early morning hours of June 4, 2001 while driving home after working a shift at the Eastern Correctional Institution, according to police.
Ingersoll was released from prison in 2000 for the 1997 criminal convictions, according to a spokesperson with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
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Collins was from Vienna, Maryland, and a three-year veteran of the Division of Correction and a member of the Maryland National Guard. He was married and had a 5-month-old daughter at the time of his death, according to the Washington Times.
Collins was reported missing when he failed to return home after his shift. A responding Maryland state trooper found an unresponsive Collins inside his gray Toyota pickup truck in a wooded area off of Route 331, according to police.
Ingersoll has previously been convicted of battery, disorderly conduct, burglary, theft, trespass, and marijuana possession, according to court records.
“The public safety community is very close-knit and was devastated by Officer Collins’ murder,” wrote Mark Vernarelli, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, in a statement. “Many correctional officers, parole and probation agents, and department executives rallied around the Collins family and the officer’s prison colleagues.”
After Collins’ death, colleagues from Eastern Correctional Institution the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services began fundraising to help Collins’ daughter, Vernarelli said. They held an annual crab feast, during which they raised thousands of dollars over the years to help Collins’ daughter.
The state police worked with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Baltimore division of the FBI , and several other law enforcement agencies.