A Washington, D.C. man described as “the mastermind” in a murder-for-hire plot of his boss faces up to 50 years in prison after being convicted on multiple charges, county prosecutors announced Tuesday.
After deliberating for three hours, a Howard County Circuit Court jury on Monday found Eric Ricardo Exum, 49, guilty of first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault. Exum was acquitted of attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after the four-day trial, prosecutors said.
Exum is one of the three men charged in a “brutal assault” of Paul Albritton, 53, of Sykesville, on Oct. 4, 2017 at a gas station in Jessup. The others charged are Malcolm Xavier Littlejohn, 21, of Silver Spring, and Antwan Zahir Mayhew, 38, of District Heights.
Howard County police previously said that Exum and Littlejohn “conspired to assault” Albritton.
Albritton and Exum worked at a Jessup construction company and court records list Albritton as a foreman and Exum as a laborer.
Albritton was attacked outside the station by Littlejohn, wielding a 3-foot-long wooden stud, authorities said.
Exum knew Albritton regularly stopped at the gas station in the mornings to purchase items from its shop, according to police.
Albritton, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, suffered what authorities described as life-threatening brain trauma.
Howard County prosecutors connected Exum to the assault using surveillance video, telephone calls and text messages with Littlejohn in the days before the assault.
During closing arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Rosen said, “This is not coincidence, this is conspiracy.”
One of Exum’s attorney’s, Daniel Michael Kobrin, an assistant public defender, said that he and attorney Allison Michele Sayers are “disappointed” that Exum was convicted. Sayers is also representing Exum.
Kobrin said they are “exploring avenues” for a possible appeal before Exum’s Sept. 27 sentencing.
Littlejohn pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault on June 27 in Circuit Court, according to prosecutors. Littlejohn’s sentencing is Sept. 13.
Keith Lee Hiller, Littlejohn’s attorney, did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.
Mayhew pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree assault on July 2 and received a “fully-suspended” 10-year sentence, the prosecutor’s office said.
Douglas J. Wood, Mayhew’s attorney, said his client was “a minor participant” in the incident.
“The state’s attorney’s office offered a very fair resolution,” that included no jail time, Wood said.
Exum is being held at the Howard County Detention Center.