Man to be sentenced for pair of burglaries

Man to be sentenced for pair of burglaries

(May 16, 2014) The Westover man who was shot by a homeowner last June after he broke into the man’s house off Route 611 near Assateague Island will be sentenced for that crime and another burglary July 14. On that day, he is expected to testify against an alleged accomplice.

In Circuit Court in Snow Hill on May 2, Kente Wilcox, 30, pleaded not guilty, but agreed with the statement of facts, which is essentially a guilty plea, to two counts of first-degree burglary. After hearing the facts of each case, Judge Thomas C. Groton found him guilty of both charges.

On May 7, Wilcox and Maurice Anthony Holden, 32, of Melfa, Va., were traveling in a van with telephone directories as a ruse so they could pretend they were delivering them. Actually, they just wanted to try to break into houses.

They entered a house off Route 611 after finding its garage door opener in an unlocked car while the owners were away. Inside, they stole a safe containing jewelry, with a value of at least $508,000. Most of the jewelry was family heirlooms and several were one-of-a-kind pieces.

The safe was later found in a wooded area.

During the investigation, police saw a video of Wilcox, Holden and a woman at a pawn shop in Pocomoke where they allegedly pawned some items stolen from that house. The woman was allegedly Patricia Johnson, 31, of Pocomoke, who is scheduled for trial in July.

On June 1, Wilcom, this time accompanied by Kemayne

Shabazz Smith, 35, of Dagsboro, Del., broke into a house not far from the house where he and Holden had stolen the safe.

The homeowner was in his second-floor office when he heard the doorbell ring. Looking out, he saw a parked white van and saw Wilcox at the front door. He also saw Wilcox walk to the van, get a duffle bag and return to the house. He then heard a loud noise at the side door as the burglars broke in.

The homeowner ran to the third floor, grabbed and loaded his .45 caliber revolver and locked the door of the room he was in. He also tried to barricade it and he heard two men walking around his house and up his stairs. The men pushed on the door of the room the homeowner was in.

“As the door was giving way, [the homeowner] fired a single shot,” Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Rakow said in court last week.

The shot hit Wilcox in his shoulder and the homeowner heard him stumble down the stairs. Then he walked to the door and looked out because he thought the intruder was leaving. He saw Smith on the stairs so he pointed his gun at him. Smith turned around and walked down the stairs and out of the house.

The homeowner heard two honks from a vehicle horn and saw Smith get into the white van. He then called 911.

Police chased the van into Delaware and it stopped past Selbyville. Wilcox ran, but was caught. Smith remained in the van and both were arrested.

After a day-long trial on Jan. 9, a jury found Smith guilty of first- and fourth-degree burglary. On March 11, Judge Brian Shockley sentenced Smith to 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended.

On March 6, Judge William Simpson sentenced Holden to 15 years in prison, with all but five years suspended for his crime of first-degree burglary. Holden had entered an Alford plea to the charge. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the prosecution has sufficient evidence for a conviction.

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