Former Woodland Beach man pleads guilty to shooting neighbor last year


A former Woodland Beach man pleaded guilty yesterday to assault with intent to murder for shooting his longtime next-door neighbor during an argument.

Roger Aldine Nicholas, 50, could be sent to prison for 30 years when he is sentenced Feb. 25 for shooting Allen Richard Carper in March 1996.

Assistant State's Attorney Frederick M. Paone said he would seek the maximum sentence, but under a plea agreement would recommend that Nicholas be allowed to serve his time locally.

"For what he did, that's about fair on my part," Paone said. "The evidence is very strong."

Nicholas and Carper, then 41, had spent a Saturday in the 300 block of Highland Drive drinking and tinkering on another neighbor's car. Nicholas then went to a nearby American Legion hall and continued to drink, Paone said, reading from a statement of facts.

Nicholas was "highly, highly" intoxicated when he returned home that evening, got a gun from inside and went back outside yelling profanities at Carper like a "broken record," Paone said.

Victor A. Houlon, Nicholas' lawyer, said both men were very drunk, not just Nicholas, when they had the argument. Carper was in Nicholas' front yard when Nicholas shot him, Houlon said.

Paone said Carper was approaching Nicholas to calm him when he was shot. Carper then staggered back to his house, and Nicholas, still holding the gun, tried to follow him inside, Paone said.

Carper was flown by state police helicopter to Prince George's Hospital Center, where he spent two weeks. He still suffers from the effects of the gunshot, Paone said.

Nicholas moved out of the neighborhood near Edgewater shortly after the shooting and now lives in Virginia, Houlon said.

"To this day, my client doesn't even know how the gun went off," he said. "This is a tragedy for both families."

Neither Nicholas, who is free on bond until Jan. 2, nor Carper would comment after the hearing.

Under the plea agreement, Paone will drop six other charges against Nicholas, including attempted first-degree murder.

Pub Date: 12/12/97

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