COURT NEWS: Joseph Willis Gets 3 Life Sentences In Lieu Of Death Sentence Due To Maryland Lawmakers Canceling Capital Punishment – Too Bad
PASADENA, MD. – A drama of life and death in which the lives of two Anne Arundel County Police Detectives were endangered after they were shot by a murder suspect, ended with the capture of the accused killer of a Glen Burnie man.
The intense manhunt that ensued when Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis shot the two detectives who were hot on his trail, led a large posse of tactical teams of law officers throughout a large area of Anne Arundel County and culminated in the arrest of the murder suspect as well as several others involved in the distribution of drugs.
Police said that following an intensive investigation and search, Anne Arundel County Police detectives arrested Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis, 22, of Pasadena, Md., charging him in connection with the murder of Christopher Lawrence Jones, 44, of 622 Newfield Road in Glen Burnie, Md., and in connection with the shooting / attempted murder of one of our police detectives.
Willis has been charged by Detective Lewis Dwight with First Degree Murder and Attempted First Degree Murder. Willis was ordered held without bond at a hearing held on Feb. 7, 2020.
Police say that additional charges will be placed.
- Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis
- DOB: 12-29-1997
- 7726 Middle Gate Court
- Pasadena, Maryland
- First Degree Murder
- Attempted First Degree Murder
According to Anne Arundel Police, on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at approximately 4:50 p.m., officers responded to a residence located in the 600 block of Newfield Road in Glen Burnie for a death investigation. Upon arrival, officers discovered 44-year-old Christopher Lawrence Jones deceased in the residence. Jones suffered significant trauma to the upper body.
Anne Arundel County Police Department’s Homicide detectives along with the Evidence Collection Unit responded and processed the crime scene. Evidence was collected and interviews were completed.
During an interview it was learned that the victim’s vehicle was missing. The deceased was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy. The cause of death was trauma to the upper body with the manner being homicide.
Anne Arundel County Police Department’s Homicide detectives initiated an investigation.
DETECTIVES SPOTTED STOLEN VEHICLE BELONGING
TO MURDER VICTIM, KILLER SHOT AND WOUNDED COP
At approximately 11:00 p.m., the Fugitive Apprehension Team and Homeland Security and Intelligence detectives observed Mr. Jones’ vehicle in the area of Fort Smallwood Road between Fort Armistead Road and Hawkins Point Road in Baltimore. Upon attempting to stop the vehicle the sole occupant shot at the detectives from within the vehicle.
One detective was shot in the upper body and drove to a nearby convenience store to request assistance. The suspect then fled south on Fort Smallwood Road, pursued by multiple law enforcement officers to the Orchard Beach / Stoney Beach communities.
FLEEING KILLER SHOT the SECOND DETECTIVE
The individual was pursued throughout the neighborhood at which time another detective was able to stop the suspect with his vehicle. At that time the suspect again opened fire, striking the detective in the upper body before fleeing on foot.
A perimeter was established and a search for the suspect was initiated. Both detectives were transported to an area trauma center for serious, life-threatening injuries.
The detectives involved are Detective Scott Ballard, a 21 year-veteran, assigned to the Fugitive Apprehension Team, and Detective Ian Preece, a 13-year veteran, assigned to the Homeland Security and Intelligence Unit.
CHARGES OF HARBORING A FUGITIVE
MAY SOON BE PLACED
The investigation and search for the at-large suspect continued throughout the night and following day. Detectives were able to obtain forensic evidence which led them to a person of interest and also enabled detectives to identify potential addresses of interest, including an address within the established perimeter where the suspect was believed to be secreted. Detectives obtained search warrants for two addresses and worked with the Anne Arundel County Special Operations Section and Maryland State Police State Team to formulate a plan to execute these warrants in a manner to ensure public safety as well as the safety of the officers.
A warrant was executed at a residence located at 1361 River Bank Court, Curtis Bay, Md., where detectives were able to apprehend the suspect, Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis, 22, of 7726 Middlegate Court in Pasadena, without incident.
Police say that at the residence, detectives located suspected Heroin/Fentanyl, Cocaine, Marijuana and LSD. Also taken into custody at this address were Shawn Ethan Taylor, 21, (07/09/1998) and Zachary Evan Taylor, 23, (DOB 05/29/1996) who resided at that residence. Shawn Ethan Taylor was charged with six counts of felony distribution and possession of heroin, Fentanyl and cocaine.
On Feb. 7, 2020, Shawn Taylor was released on his own recognizance in recognition of the fact that accused drug dealers are trustworthy and can be depended upon to appear in court when scheduled on March 2, 2020, and not fly the coop.
Zachary Evan Taylor was released on an unsecured personal bond of $10,000 on Feb. 7, 2020. While Shawn Taylor has an extensive traffic citation background, court records reveal that Zachary Taylor pleaded guilty to theft in Anne Arundel District Court on Sept. 28, 2016, in a plea deal with Anne Arundel States Attorney Wes Adams. THE DEAL: Taylor was given a verdict of Probation Before Judgement with no fine and no time and one year of unsupervised probation.
According to Maryland land records, 1361 River Bank Ct, Stoney Beach, Md., is a single-family townhouse and is owned by Stephen E. Taylor II and Charis C. Taylor.
DRAGNET CAUGHT POT-GROWING MAMA OF ALLEGED KILLER
Police say that another warrant was executed simultaneously at 7726 Middlegate Court in Pasadena by the State Team where detectives found evidence of a small Marijuana grow operation as well as suspected Heroin/Fentanyl. Mechelle Antoinette Fischer, 42, the mother of Willis, was taken into custody at this location. The total value of suspected controlled dangerous substances collected from the residences was approximately $17,000. Fischer has yet to be charged with a crime as of Feb. 8, 2020.
The Grand Jury for Anne Arundel County indicted Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis on Sept. 15, 2017, with eleven criminal counts including possession of a dangerous weapon with the intent to injure, theft, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, felony robbery, felony armed robbery. In a plea deal on Feb. 2, 2018, with Anne Arundel States Attorney Wes Adams, Willis entered guilty pleas to two counts of felony robbery and all the other counts of the indictment were dropped. THE DEAL: Willis was sentenced to five years in prison with all, but 18 months suspended – which accounts for why he was able to be free to allegedly murder Christopher Jones by beating him to death on Feb. 4, 2020, and shoot two detectives.
Update to Homicide / Shooting of Anne Arundel County Police Detectives
Police Chief Timothy J. Altomare providing an update to the shooting of two AACoPD detectives who were investigating a homicide.
Two Anne Arundel County Police Officers shot during an investigation. Sgt. Jacklyn Davis giving brief.