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Howard jury convicts teen of murdering Laurel youth in drug deal gone awry

Jess Nocera
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

A Hyattsville teen who is said to have shot a Laurel teen during a drug deal last October was found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges by a county jury late Friday, county prosecutors announced.

Melvin A. Jacome, 16, was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, possession of a regulated firearm by someone under 21, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and reckless endangerment from a motor vehicle.

Howard County Circuit Court jurors deliberated four hours after a five-day trial, prosecutors said in a summary of the case released Tuesday.

Xavier Cole Young, 14, of Laurel, was found unconscious with a “critical gunshot wound to the head,” in the 9000 block of North Laurel Road around 11 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2017, according to prosecutors. He died two days later in a Baltimore hospital.

Jacome, Francisco Rodriguez, 16, of Laurel, and Luis Gerardo Ordonez, 19, of Laurel, were arrested within a week, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez testified that Jacome was the one who fired a 9mm pistol on Oct. 28. The gun was never recovered.

Initially charged with murder, Rodriguez took a plea deal in exchange for his testimony. He faced a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. His sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Ordonez pleaded guilty to a firearm charge and conspiracy to commit armed robbery on May 7. Sentencing is set for Oct. 18.

During the trial, police and eyewitnesses testified that “a one-on-one illegal drug transaction went awry’” after the seller planned to short the buyer of marijuana, while the buyer conspired to rob the seller, according to a statement from prosecutors.

Ivan Mark Waldman, Jacome’s attorney, was out of the office Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

During closing arguments, Waldman characterized the case as “smoke and mirrors,” and “hit hard” at the character and veracity of the eyewitnesses and participants, according to a summary of the case provided by prosecutors.

Jacome’s sentencing is set for Dec. 6. He is being held without bond at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

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