A man accused of shooting and wounding an Aberdeen Police Department Officer last December has accepted a plea agreement in Harford County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 78 years for attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree assault on another person, the police department and the Harford County State's Attorney's Office said Tuesday.
Tyler Testerman, 21, entered the plea Monday in connection with the Dec. 4, 2015 shooting of Officer Jason Easton. In addition to pleading guilty to shooting the police officer, Testerman pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge that involved threats made against an unnamed resident that the officer was investigating when he was shot.
Testerman, who was on probation at the time of his arrest, was sentenced by Harford Circuit Judge Angela Eaves to 78 years with 37 years suspended and 41 years to be spent in the Maryland Department of Corrections. According to the news release, the first five years of the sentence are mandatory and are without the possibility of parole.
Easton, who sustained a severe eye injury as a result of the shooting, continues to recover from this incident and has not returned to full duty, the police department said.
A second man charged in connection with the Easton shooting, Scott Patrick Lawrence, 26, of Abingdon, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder for his role in the shooting, according to a statement by Harford County State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly.
Lawrence is due to be sentenced before Harford Circuit Judge Kevin J. Mahoney on July 11, according to the statement.
Cassilly said Easton read a victim impact statement to Eaves in which he talked about having problems with picking up his children and attending holiday events, forcing his wife to become sole caregiver for the family.
Easton nevertheless cited his faith and said he forgives Testerman and "wished him to want to do better," Cassilly said.
Assistant State's Attorney David Ryden told the judge that Easton was serving his city and community "by accepting his oath of office to confront danger at the risk of his life," according to the Cassilly statement.
Easton "responded heroically to protect the people of Aberdeen, no matter who they were, and but for his sacrifice, grave harm or death could have come to one of its residents," Ryden said.
Easton, a 10-year veteran of the Aberdeen Police Department, responded to the 500 block of Ohio Street at about 3 a.m. for a report of a suspicious person. The caller pointed out two people in the wood line of the property who he believed were there to assault him, police said. One of the two, Testerman, fired a shotgun at Easton and the resident, according to the Cassiliy's statement.
Easton was struck in the face and upper torso with multiple projectiles, including one in his left eye. He was able to tactically retreat with the resident and secure cover. A backup unit responded quickly and Officer Easton was transported to Shock Trauma by the Maryland State Police, according to the statement. The resident was unharmed.
The investigation showed Testerman and the resident had been arguing over text messages and Testerman threatened to blow up his trailer, according to the statement.
A 10-year veteran of the Aberdeen Police Department was shot in the face early Friday morning while responding to a call on Ohio Court, and a suspect was taken into custody several hours later, an Aberdeen Police sergeant said.
Testerman and Lawrence drove to Aberdeen to assault the resident, Cassilly said. Lawrence banged on the trailer with a pipe to get the resident to come out, while Testerman stood by with a shotgun, according to the statement.
The resident would not answer and both suspects then began to leave when Officer Easton arrived, and the shot was fired, according to the statement.
Testerman was taken into custody without incident in at an Edgewood apartment few hours after shooting The shotgun was later recovered in Perryman where Lawrence was arrested without incident, also the same day as the shooting, police said at the time.