IS THE PRETENSE OF ONLINE PRESS RELEASE PUBLISHING OF DAVID MICHAEL HIGGINS II REALLY TO TORTURE HIS RAPE VICTIM?
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
News and Commentary on Crime
MECHANICSVILLE, MD. – Some crime stories go on for decades. A violent offender who raped a neighbor who was home alone with two small children while armed with a large knife was convicted in St. Mary’s Circuit Court and sentenced to prison. That offender, who filed an Alford plea in which he acknowledged that the prosecution had sufficient evidence to convict him of the charges of rape and assault, was a junior at Chopticon High School in 1995.
Now, that man spreads his name dozens of times daily in his online bulletin board of government press releases, each of which he attaches his name. David Michael Higgins II hasn’t lived in the Mechanicsville area since he was sent to prison. He lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the small town of Federalsburg. He runs his online press release repository, The Southern Maryland Chronicle, in the area where his victim and her family live.
After reading this article, the question is posed: Is the online pounding and narcissistic reminder of his name that can’t be expunged from criminal records a novel way of torturing his victim?
Higgins won’t be found in the 1997 graduating class of Chopticon. However, his profile on social media implies that he graduated from the St. Mary’s County High School located near Morganza, Md. In fact, he earned a GED high school certificate, it was while he was incarcerated at the Patuxent Institution. Higgins worked as a cook part-time at Bert’s Drive-In in Mechanicsville, Md., at the time he raped the victim.
Higgins ticked the box of burglary on his way to committing rape and threatening to kill her if she told anyone.
David Michael Higgins Jr, aka David Michael Higgins II (DOB 02/28/1979), broke into the rear door of a neighbor’s home while she was fixing ham and cabbage for dinner for her husband and kids. The victim’s husband was expected home soon, and her two young children watched The Lion King on TV. Higgins was armed with a large hunting knife when he forced his way into the victim’s home just before five o’clock in the evening, according to the police reports and court records. The police investigator, Maryland State Police Detective Charles “Chip” Ewing, reported that Higgins warned the woman that if she told anyone what happened, he would return and kill her.
Higgins served very little time due to his age when he committed the violent rape at knifepoint, but he is unable to purge or expunge court records of his conviction of charges of second-degree rape and nolle prosed charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense, and burglary. Higgins was sixteen years of age when he decided to terrorize his victim.
The first indication something was wrong when the victim’s husband entered the home in time for dinner was when the couple’s young son, three years of age and a witness to the rape, told his father that “David had hurt mommy.” Also present was the victim’s two-year-old daughter. Higgins ordered the victim to “shut up and go into the bedroom” as he waved the knife in her face. Higgins’s attack occurred in the bedroom after he locked the door and commanded her to please him, and then he proceeded to rape her. Once he was done, Higgins told her, “IF YOU SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE OR CALL THE COPS, I WILL COME BACK AND KILL YOU.” The victim then observed Higgins run across the yard and enter his parent’s home through the basement.
The victim then gave a tearful account to her husband, who immediately called the police, which led to the arrest of Higgins at his parents’ home a couple of doors down the street in the Sandgates Road area. When police arrived at the home of Higgins, his father consented to a search, which led to the discovery of a large hunting knife in the basement. The victim was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, where a sexual assault examination was conducted by medical personnel. Higgins was taken to the State Police Barracks for processing and collecting clothing and personal samples for DNA and then to the jail. The knife and collected evidence were taken to the Maryland State Police Crime Lab. The DNA collected pinpointed Higgins in the crime.
When Higgins made the plea, he was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge John Hanson Briscoe to twenty years in prison with the clock ticking from when he was first jailed on July 10, 1995. Leonardtown Attorney A. Shane Mattingly represented Higgins following his indictment by the St. Mary’s County Grand Jury.
With the Alford Plea, no trial was held, and Judge Briscoe suspended the sentence to seven years in the Department of Corrections. A provision was made for Higgins to serve three years of supervised probation in the Youth Offenders Program. Court records show that Higgins was allowed to post bond by Circuit Court Judge Briscoe on September 1, 1995, not reside with his parents, who lived next to the victim, and to have no contact with the victim. On March 1, 1996, the St. Mary’s State’s Attorney filed a notice to use DNA evidence at trial.
Shortly afterward, on April 26, 1996, Higgins filed his Alford Plea to Count Two of the Indictment, and the Judge ordered a Psychological Evaluation. Court records show that after the plea leading to the guilty verdict, the other counts of the indictment were dropped. Higgins was committed to the custody of the Maryland prison system on June 24, 1996.
THE VICTIM TO THE JUDGE: “I have trouble at night just picturing what he did to me and how terrified I was for my life and my children.”
On June 6, 1996, the victim wrote to Judge Briscoe about the pending sentencing following the guilty plea of Higgins in Circuit Court. “I just wanted you to know how this affected myself and my family. It almost destroyed my 5-year marriage because I could not deal with the fact that someone I knew and thought I could trust could ever hurt me so much. I have enclosed the actual events as they happened. I have trouble at night just picturing what he did to me and how terrified I was for my life and my children. I don’t think I have ever been so scared in my life. It is a very eerie feeling when you feel like you are no longer in control of your life. The reason I agreed to the plea was to save me from having to relive the events, much less have everyone know exactly what happened. I knew if he did not plead guilty, he would have been found guilty because of all the evidence against him. Please also take into consideration the effect it has had on my 3-year-old son, who will always remember, “David hurt Mommy – with a knife” – exactly the way he says it.”
In her detailed description of the sexual attack, the victim related that Higgins demanded a passionate embrace as he raped her, and when she refused, he put the knife to her throat.
Higgins was back before Judge Briscoe on November 10, 1997, requesting reconsideration. St. Mary’s Deputy State’s Attorney Christy Chesser wrote to Judge Briscoe that the victim objected to any reconsideration in the sentence. Nonetheless, Judge Briscoe made the extraordinary decision to modify the already shortened sentence of seven years to simply eighteen months to be served in the St. Mary’s County Jail. Higgins was also ordered to participate in any “therapy” available at the jail for sex offenders.
THE VICTIM TO THE JUDGE: “My life has been hell since this occurred. I wake up with night terror crying.”
The victim wrote to Judge John Hanson Briscoe on November 7, 1997, stating: “I am writing in regards to a reconsideration hearing you are about to hear on November 10, 1997. I am protesting this hearing because I feel that the defendant didn’t receive enough time for the violent assault he committed. I really think that seven years is too light of a sentence, and he wants to get out earlier than that. This boy holds a lot of anger toward people and life itself. My life has been hell since this occurred. I often wake up with night terror, crying, and many sleepless nights. Not to say the impact this will have on my 6-year-old son, who was a witness.”
On December 30, 1997, Higgins wrote a letter to Judge Briscoe expressing his desire to join the military and said he wanted to be a Marine but learned from a recruiter that only the Army would accept a volunteer with a felony on their record. “I would still like to join the military, not only for the chance to serve my country but for the great educational opportunities.” He ended his letter promising to follow any and all restrictions placed on him. Higgins’s letter to Judge Briscoe was signed by “David Higgins II.”
Judge Briscoe once again shortened the jail time for Higgins on August 28, 1998, and ordered that Higgins be released from jail and serve the balance of the greatly abbreviated sentence that was originally twenty years to be served as home detention and work release – with no contact with his victim allowed. State’s Attorney Dorsey asked for a continuance in order to allow the victim to be present as her child had taken sick that day, and the Judge denied the request.
Judge Briscoe ordered that Higgins be evaluated at the Walden Drug Counseling Center and for the Motion for Reconsideration to remain open for further reconsideration. Judge Briscoe signed a warrant for his arrest on October 27, 2000, as Higgins violated the terms of his probation.
Higgins was living in Baltimore when he was charged with violating the terms of his probation and jailed again in St. Mary’s County. On February 19, 2004, Higgins was released from the St. Mary’s County Jail.
David Michael Higgins II, according to his profile on social media, was associated with the Baynet for a couple of months before beginning his own bulletin board of government press releases. With nary a word changed or additional information added, Higgins floods the press releases onto his website, each with his name and the title of Editor and Publisher inserted as a byline at the top.
Higgins advertises himself as an “award-winning journalist” due perhaps to the selection process of a local newspaper running a contest geared to gaining revenue through ad sales to merchants interested in winning “the best of” categories but first participating by purchasing advertising. Higgins was asked to comment for this article on several topics, including his claim of being an award-winning journalist. Higgins was also asked to provide other information and to participate in a recorded video interview, which he refused, as shown below:
Higgins has a novel idea of what government agencies owe him in the way of a living, going on a tirade about how the failure of the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department to produce regular press releases was costing him significant income. Higgins leads off on his website with the phrase: “when the news matters, it matters where you get your news.”
Higgins shares his daily collection of press releases from government agencies in St. Mary’s, Calvert, and Charles County on his Facebook page, which has about twenty-thousand followers, further increasing the significant digital overlay of the community in which his victim and her family reside. Notably, Higgins doesn’t operate in the middle shore region, which includes the county where he lives – Caroline – as plenty of news takes place in nearby Salisbury, Dover, Easton, and Ocean City. Higgins moved into the residence of his newly acquired wife and her four children.
A photo collection of various recovery pins is posted on Higgins’s Facebook page. However, he has recently been observed in public consuming large amounts of alcohol in a restaurant.
Since Higgins hasn’t lived in St. Mary’s County since his release from jail in Leonardtown twenty years ago and doesn’t attempt to cover news with original reports, it appears that his motive is dark.
Is Higgins providing a daily reminder to his victim that he is superior to her and maybe one day will follow through on his threat to come back and kill her – not perhaps with the hunting knife – but with a cloud of electronic night terror that never ever leaves the skies over her home?