A Baltimore man accused of assault with intent to murder a sheriff's deputy in the District Court building in Bel Air on Wednesday was freed on $10,000 bond Friday after his family convinced a judge that he usually is not violent.
The suspect, Marsell Dwayne Starks, 22, of the 4400 block of Franconia Drive near Moravia Park also is charged with assaulting and battering the deputy, Cpl. Tom Prevette, and Calvin Cason, a District Court bailiff. Neither was seriously injured, authorities said.
Mr. Starks, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 375 pounds, also is accused of threatening Assistant State's Attorney Mimi Cooper and assaulting Deputy Chris Parrish, who arrived at the courtroom to find Mr. Cason and Corporal Prevette struggling with the suspect.
Michael Drew Starks Sr., the father of the suspect, told District Judge Lawrence S. Lanahan Jr. at Friday's bail review hearing, "I don't condone what my son did, but he was acting out of love for his girlfriend."
According to family members, Marsell Starks followed Deputy Parrish from Baltimore to the District Court building in Bel Air. Deputy Parrish was bringing Joi Wilson, Marsell's girlfriend, to court in handcuffs because she previously had failed to appear as a state's witness in a criminal case being prosecuted by Ms. Cooper.
"Marsell had his girlfriend's 3-year-old son with him and he didn't want the boy to see his mother in handcuffs," the elder Mr. Starks said.
According to charging documents, the incident began when the suspect approached Ms. Cooper and allegedly threatened her.
Mr. Cason later told Deputy Parrish that he had arrested Marsell Starks for disorderly conduct. That charge has not appeared yet in court records, and family members say the younger Mr. Starks never was told he was under arrest or advised of his Miranda rights by the bailiff.
Nevertheless, Marsell Starks was handcuffed and placed in a holding room off the courtroom.
Family members said he was in the room for about an hour and just wanted to get out and go home. "He told me he was scared and just tried to leave," the elder Mr. Starks said.
The suspect allegedly complained that his handcuffs were too tight, and either the bailiff or Deputy Prevette attempted to loosen them.
Deputies said that's when the suspect shoved the bailiff out of the way and began to leave through the courtroom.
Corporal Prevette said he was attacked by the suspect, who tried to get the 9 mm service weapon from the deputy's holster. Other deputies in nearby courtrooms were alerted as the struggle moved to the hallway and as many as six or seven more assisted in subduing the suspect.
Ms. Wilson said Mr. Starks was punched and kicked as deputies pounced on him.
After Friday's bail review hearing, the elder Mr. Starks said he was sorry anyone was injured. "My son is not a violent person. If he cares about you, he really cares about you.
"He just wanted to protect his girlfriend."
A trial date has not been set.
In other matters last week:
* Police are searching for a black and tan dog that resembles a German shepherd that bit a child Wednesday in the Perryman area. The child was bitten near Spesutia Road and Mitchell Lane.
The dog was wearing a brown nylon collar. Anyone with information about the dog should call Animal Control at 638-3505 or the Harford County Sheriff's Office at 838-6600.
* The Harford County Crime Solvers is offering up to a $1,000 reward for the arrest and indictment of whoever broke into a house and storage trailer in the 1800 block of Walton Road in Edgewood between July 10 and 12.
The victim reported that a man's and woman's gold diamond cluster rings were stolen along with a video camera and the rear portion of a Chevrolet Chevelle.
Police estimated the loss at $2,500.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Solvers hot line at 877-STOP. Callers need not give their name or appear in court.