A Baltimore man was convicted yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court of armed robbery, assault and kidnapping in a case involving the December burglary of an Eldersburg home that led to the critical wounding several days later of a state trooper.
Ronald J. Presco, 37, of the 3000 block of Arunah Ave. was found guilty of 30 out of 31 charges, including armed robbery, burglary, first- and second-degree assault and kidnapping. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10, according to the county state's attorney's office.
Presco and another man invaded an Eldersburg home in December, tying up three of its occupants with telephone wire and duct tape before stealing money, one victim's engagement ring and other items, according to court records.
Another occupant of the house, Levi Van Arnam South, was later handcuffed, and Presco forced South to go with him to get money from Village Services, a "check cashing business in Randallstown" where South worked, court documents stated.
Presco was arrested that night after fleeing from Baltimore County police, who had been alerted to the incident and had gone to the Randallstown business. A second man, who was supposed to remain on guard at the house during Presco's absence, apparently fled shortly after Presco and South left, according to court documents.
That second suspect, later identified as Steven T. Jones, was shot and killed five days later in a Baltimore County home, as a Maryland State Police fugitive task force tried to arrest him.
The Dec. 12 encounter resulted in the critical wounding of Tfc. Class Eric D. Workman of the Westminster Barracks, who was part of the task force. Workman returned to work this spring.
"There's no question as to what happened in this case," State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes told jurors in his closing argument. "It is sheer violence - there's no other way to describe it - and terror."
Thomas Nugent of the county's public defender office, who represented Presco, pointed to what he described as conflicting testimonies from the victims in the house that December night, particularly when it came to several bags of marijuana that police found on Presco. The bags were allegedly taken from the house.
"I use this marijuana to talk about truth and honesty," Nugent told jurors. "It's about the lies that they were willing to tell."
But the marijuana could not serve as an excuse or a defense, Barnes said.
"It has nothing to do with the underlying acts of violence, which are the essence of this case," he said.