Charges dropped against man who collected funds for families of slain Harford deputies

This story is updated from an earlier version.

Criminal charges were dropped Thursday against a man who had raised money for families of two Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputies killed in the line of duty in 2016, but allegedly did not give all the proceeds to them.

Harford County State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly confirmed Thursday afternoon that the three-count indictment filed last winter against Daniel McClure was nolle prosecuti, meaning he had filed a formal notice with the court that the case was being abandoned and would not be pursued any further by his office.

“We made a statement to the court that we believe the evidence presented [showed] he [McClure] did collect thousands of dollars...and probably owes the families $40,000 to $60,000,” Cassilly said in a phone interview shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday. He added, however, that a review of the evidence led him to conclude “this is probably not a criminal case but more of a civil case.”

In a telephone interview Thursday afternoon, McClure said he is “relieved” the case is over and insisted he “tried to do the right thing.”

What he did “helped the families a lot,” he continued. “I hope to help in the future. I wanted to help bring the whole community together.”

“I am humbled by the experience and God is good,” he added.

“I also want to say that if you know me and my family, you know me and my family,” said McClure, whose brother and sister and father live in Harford County.

“I’m glad that they [the prosecution] said I did do what I said I was going to do,” he said. “I turned over a lot of money to them; that’s what I said I was going to do.”

McClure declined to say how much was turned over, saying he didn’t know whom to trust at this point.

“You’ll have to ask them,” he said.

Selection of the jury had been completed and opening arguments were set to begin late Wednesday afternoon when Marcus Jenkins, the public defender representing McClure, asked Harford County Circuit Court Judge M. Elizabeth Bowen to dismiss the charges on the grounds the three-count indictment against McClure was legally flawed.

Bowen dismissed the jury for the day and then heard brief arguments on the dismissal motion in open court from Jenkins and Cassilly, who was prosecuting the case, saying she would rule on the motion when court convened at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, prior to the jury’s scheduled return at 1 p.m.

But Thursday’s proceedings did not go forward, and the trial was postponed.

McClure, 49, of the 1200 block of Temfield Road in Towson, was indicted March 13 on charges of theft $10,000 to $100,000, theft $1,000 to $10,000 and embezzling or misappropriating funds by a fiduciary, according to online court records.

Following the Feb. 10, 2016 murders of Harford County Sheriff’s Office Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon, McClure began selling “Support the Blue” merchandise with a pledge that a portion of each item sold would go to the Harford County Deputy Sheriff's Union benevolent fund to benefit the families of the fallen deputies.

A few months later, in May 2016, the union ended its relationship with McClure’s company, East Coast Sportswear, after a dispute over whether the amount of money being donated was correct, based on the volume of merchandise sold, according to statements at the time from union’s then-President Fred Visnaw.

McClure, a native of Havre de Grace, was indicted on charges that between Feb. 17, 2016 and March 7, 2016, he “unlawfully did steal U.S. Currency property of the families of Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon, having a value of at least $10,000 but less than $100,000,” a second theft count of theft $1,000 to $10,000 and “unlawfully did, being a fiduciary of the trust of the families of Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon fraudulently and willfully appropriate to a use not in the due and lawful execution of his truest U.S. Currency received by him in their fiduciary capacity,” according to the indictment filed in Harford County Circuit Court.

Wednesday, however, Jenkins argued that counts one and two of the indictment “failed to charge an offense” in accordance with Maryland court rules and case law because the wording of the counts was not clear if an offense had been committed “at one time or over a period of time.”

Jenkins also attacked the third count of the indictment, saying it was too open ended as to the number of alleged victims – he said families could mean spouses, children, siblings, other relatives – and at the very least the alleged fiduciary violation count should have been two counts, specifying a single family. Jenkins also questioned the wide time period covering two years in the indictment’s third count.

“There could be almost infinite numbers of individuals known as a family,” Jenkins said.

Cassilly told the court Wednesday that the two theft counts of the indictment covered “multiple transactions” involving McClure’s sale of merchandise, such as T-shirts, and also the collection of monetary donations on behalf of the deputy sheriff’s union’s benevolent fund that was collecting funds from multiple sources to support the families of the slain deputies.

When Bowen asked Cassilly about the actual amount of money allegedly stolen, Cassilly replied it was in the “thousands;” however, the state’s attorney said a full accounting could not be made because, although volunteers in the fundraising had counted some of the proceeds, the money was given to McClure who “walks away...and at the end of all this [the money] is not turned over” to the union.

The alleged theft “occurred at some point in time” Cassilly said. “At the end [McClure] had an obligation to turn the money over. The defendant has the money that belongs to someone else and it is not turned over.”

Cassilly said then he was willing to amend the first two counts of the indictments to say the alleged thefts were “continuing scheme and course of conduct.” He also said if the counts should be dismissed, he would go back to the grand jury “and ask them to reindict.”

He said, Thursday, however, that the case is over, as far as any criminal action by his office is concerned.

Cassilly had also told the court that count three of the indictment covered a two year period because during this period “the defendant had the opportunity to pay the money out for proper purposes and failed to do so.”

Mike Montalvo, the current president of the Harford County Deputy Sheriff’s Union, declined to comment on the outcome of the case Thursday.

“The union board will discuss the matter and decide how to move forward,” he said.

Montalvo said the union’s benevolent fund is still being maintained. The fund is a nonprofit organization formed by the union to collect and distribute fund to support police, firefighters and EMS personnel and their families when those first responders are injured or killed in the line of duty, according to the union’s website.

All disbursements from the benevolent fund, meant for the Dailey and Logsdon families, have been made, according to Montalvo.

Jenkins, the defense attorney, could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon, but District Public Defender for Harford County Kelly Casper, his boss, praised his work.

“Mr. McClure was vindicated and it was the just result, and our whole office has been behind Marcus [Jenkins] on this case and he has been working really hard on it,” Casper said. “It’s a celebration for all of us.”

Aegis staff member David Anderson contributed to this article.

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