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Custody claim shows murder suspect's life in shambles

The Baltimore Sun

In the days before a 42-year-old Crownsville man was charged with conspiring with a ninth-grader to kill a drug dealer, his mother-in-law petitioned for custody of his children, says a court filing that offers a broader look into a troubled man's downward spiral.

A year after his wife died, Wayne Lewis Milburn Sr.'s home was in "complete disarray" and his two sons were no longer attending school or receiving medical care for severe asthma, according to a complaint filed by Nancy A. Coale. Aware of the pending murder investigation, she also told a judge that Milburn was suffering from drug addiction.

Police say his drug habit may have set the stage for the killing of 23-year-old Krey Jermaine Green, whose remains were found Oct. 30 inside a burned car in a secluded area of Crownsville. Milburn and 15-year-old Ross Ethan Womick, a former classmate of one of Milburn's children, allegedly called Green to purchase drugs, then shot him and robbed him. With Green still inside, the car was torched, and police say Milburn and Womick went back to Milburn's home to smoke crack cocaine.

Coale was tipped that Milburn was likely going to be arrested after detectives investigating the case called her, and she filed a complaint for custody on Nov. 8. Milburn and Womick were arrested and charged with first-degree murder six days later.

Milburn's public defender, Elizabeth Palan, said the complaint was "one-sided" but that she could not comment. Coale could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Milburn was on probation after police found an explosive device in his pickup truck during a "domestic situation" in 2005, and police who raided his Generals Highway home on Nov. 1 recovered holsters and various ammunition, as well as a scale, a spoon containing a white powder and a baggy with a "rock-like" substance, according to the complaint.

Since the beginning of the school year, Milburn's two children were truant 13 and 20 times, and an Anne Arundel County school system parent pupil worker was assigned to Milburn, Coale said. Two meetings were held, but things didn't change.

At the time of his arrest, his home was not equipped with a working phone and the electricity was due to be shut off for non-payment, Coale said. The home contained large amounts of trash, dog urine and feces, and dirty clothing was scattered. The home was also infested with fleas, she said.

"The children are in need of clean living conditions," the petition stated. "Both suffer from asthma. Each needs supervision and proper care. Each needs to attend school, eat properly, dress properly, and have adequate medical care. Plaintiff is willing and able to provide proper care for the children."

Green's remains were discovered behind the South Shore Baptist Church on Herald Harbor Road in a charred Lexus. Police said that Womick, a ninth-grader, told them under questioning that he and Milburn met near the former Crownsville Hospital Center to buy crack cocaine from Green, and that Womick gave Milburn a .22-caliber handgun that he had purchased a day earlier.

As Green retrieved the drugs in his car, he was shot in the head at least once through the driver's-side window of his vehicle, police said.

Milburn then pushed Green's body to the passenger seat and drove to the wooded area behind the church, according to court documents.

Womick told officers that he drove to Milburn's home to get a gas can and filled it at the Osprey station on Generals Highway, records show. He met Milburn behind the church, where the car with Green inside was doused with gasoline.

Trial dates have not been set for Milburn or Womick.


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