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St. Mary’s CountyCircuit Court judge postponed the sen-tencing of Terry Clarke, who
pleaded guilty to ring on young
hunters near his property threeyears ago and became a grand jury witness in the criminalinvestigation of attorney JohnMattingly and Daniel Brown’salleged involvement in bribingthe victims on his behalf. But,the judge shot down the defense’smotion to have the state’s attor-
ney’s ofce ejected from the case.
Attorney Robert Bonsibargued that the prosecutor seeking the sentencing againstClarke, Daniel White, was too closely tied to the case andthe ensuing political overtones that boiled over in the pastelection when Mattingly ran for state’s attorney while being
indicted for numerous alleged crimes by that ofce.
“Mr. Clarke has been the recipient of a lot of collateraldamage,” Bonsib said of his client’s relationship to the Mat-tingly and Brown investigation. “Mr. Clarke has been anemotional wreck … he is desirous of having this resolved inthe right time and the right way.”White refuted Bonsib’s arguments, which were laid out
in a court ling last week, by stating that Clarke’s sentenc
-ing was solely about the assault and gun charges he pleadedguilty to in January of 2009.
“He took an AR-15 [assault rie] and unloaded 30
rounds at these three young men who are here today,”White said.Clarke, co-owner of the Tiki Bar in Solomons Islandand publisher of Southern Maryland Today newspaper inSt. Mary’s County, was arrested in December of 2007 for
ring on three young men who were duck hunting near his
property on St. Andrews Church Road. Clarke, who holds afelony drug conviction from 1986, was found to be in illegal
possession of many rearms and ammunition when police
searched his home, record show.In all, Clarke faces up to 75 years in prison for the
41 counts against him, which include rst-degree assault,
reckless endangerment and being a felon in possession of
For the past several years Clarke had been cooperating
with the state’s attorney’s ofce in the case against Matting
-ly, who was indicted and re-indicted in 2009 and 2010 alongwith Brown for allegedly taking $20,000 of Clarke’s moneyand using it to bribe the shooting victims to drop their case.Those charges against Mattingly were dropped bya special prosecutor later appointed in the case, IsabelleCumming, and he was also found not guilty on all counts of a land fraud and theft case tried earlier this year.Judge William Missiouri, chief administrative judgefor the 7
Judicial Circuit, said that while State’s AttorneyRichard Fritz may have requested Cumming take over the
case, that did not mean that he gave up his ofce’s right to
prosecute Clarke in this separate matter.“The State’s Attorney has never abandoned jurisdic-tion in this case,” said Missouri, who was visiting fromPrince George’s County. “There is no reason why the state’sattorney should be recused from this case.”
By Guy Leonard (CT) email@example.com
Clarke Sentencing Postponed
he Combs family wants to start an oyster hatch-ery in the waters just off of Myrtle Point Park inthe Patuxent River, and they are one step closer as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is seeking public com-ment on the project.The Combs family have spent at least the past threeyears in pursuit of the aquaculture project, negotiating withstate agencies and navigating the halls of government toget licensing fees down to a more manageable level, andhave submitted their plan, which calls for oyster growing onsubmerged platforms as well plat-
forms oating on the water.
Raymond Combs Jr., who isworking with his father throughthe permitting process, said thatthe family was able to successfullylobby for a bill to reduce the fees.“It would’ve been $75,000. Itwas illogical,” Combs said, notingthat the state’s initial fees for start-ing aquaculture were prohibitive.Combs said the amount of work in getting the engineeringand other planning drawings done
has been difcult (Combs is a sur
-veyor) and there is still a long waitto see if the state will provide thelease.“The struggle we’re goingthrough is frustrating, it’s unbe-lievable the hoops we have to gothrough,” Combs said. “But if we can get a process going thatworks, it’ll eventually convincethe watermen.”The state has pushed for thelicensing of river bottom and sur-face area throughout Maryland tohelp replenish the dwindling oys-ter population. Watermen have protested the high costs of estab-lishing an oyster aquaculture pro-gram as too high, but the state hasmade subsidized loans available inan attempt to entice them to switchover how they make a living.Initial reports from the corps of engineers show thatthere is no danger to threatened or endangered species but it
might have a minor impact on local sh populations.
According to project maps from the corps of engineersthe Combs family project consists of three separate areaswhere the oyster seed would grow: two of them would be inMill Creek, one close to the Patuxent River with the other close to Sam Abell Cove. The third site would be placedright off the shoreline of Myrtle Point Park in the PatuxentRiver.In total the three oyster growing areas encompass justunder 11 acres of either river bottom or surface water.
The rst growth area is planned for oating aquacul
-ture of oyster seed, project documents state, with a min-imum of 20 feet between each row tied together and an-chored by ground tackle.The other sites would be for growing more mature oys-ters below the river surface, about one foot from the actual bottom tethered by line and more ground tackle, documentsread.
By Guy Leonard (CT) firstname.lastname@example.org
Oyster Aquaculture Planned Near Myrtle Point