Columbia man, 20, pleads guilty as an accessory in 2007 killing

The Baltimore Sun

A Howard County man pleaded guilty yesterday to transporting a suspected killer and buying bleach so the suspect could wash his clothes after a 2007 slaying.

Kenneth Wayne Sledd, 20, of Columbia pleaded guilty to one count of being an accessory after the fact in Howard County Circuit Court. He was released after the hearing on $10,000 bond that he had posted previously.

Sledd was driving a car that was stopped by police on U.S. 29 at U.S. 40 on the morning of May 22, 2007, prosecutors said. He and the two passengers were taken into custody.

Police had an arrest warrant for one of the passengers, Charles David Richardson IV. Richardson, 24, was later charged with first-degree murder in the killing May 21, 2007, of Trae Davon Allen, who was found in Richardson's Columbia residence with gunshot wounds to the head.

The other passenger, William Arin Richardson, 23, of Hyattsville is Charles Richardson's brother. He also has been charged with being an accessory after the fact, and his trial is scheduled for July 22.

In an interview with police, Sledd said that Charles Richardson had told him the previous day that he had "merked," or killed, someone. Sledd drove Richardson to an apartment in Ellicott City, prosecutors said, and then bought a bottle of bleach so Richardson could wash clothes that were supposedly worn during the killing.

Later that day, Sledd drove Richardson to Running Brook Elementary School in Columbia to be questioned by police, prosecutors said. Richardson's trial is scheduled for October.

Police obtained video surveillance footage showing Sledd buying the bleach from a Safeway store in Harper's Choice and found a receipt for the purchase in the car that Sledd was driving, said Kim Oldham, a senior assistant state's attorney.

Although the maximum sentence for the charge against Sledd is five years in prison, Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure said in court that his sentence will be capped at one year plus probation.

After yesterday's hearing, Oldham said the plea was not made in exchange for Sledd's testimony at Richardson's trial. Sledd's attorney, Jason Shapiro, said he does not expect his client to testify at that trial.

Sledd declined to comment after the hearing. He is to be sentenced Aug. 7.

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