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Man charged in shooting of Naval Academy mother had escaped house arrest before

The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. (Dreamstime/TNS)

An Annapolis man charged with killing Naval Academy mother Michelle Cummings while wanted for fleeing house arrest had previously escaped home confinement four years earlier, court records show.

Angelo Harrod, then 25 years old, escaped from an Obery Court home where he was placed on house arrest as part of a three-year sentence for a 2016 handgun charge.

Harrod escaped around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 23, 2017, and was arrested by police eight hours later. He was returned to custody at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center in Baltimore and charged with second-degree escape, court documents show. It is unclear whether he returned to state prison or house arrest. He was released nine months later.

This spring, Harrod, now 29, had been on the run since May 3 after he cut off an ankle bracelet he had been wearing while on house arrest for assault, firearm and drug charges. All charges, except for one drug offense, are misdemeanors.

This time after escaping house arrest, police say he shot and killed Cummings, 57, who was sitting on a raised patio of the Graduate Hotel in the early hours of July 29.

Cummings was visiting Annapolis from Houston with her husband and son Leonard “Trey” Cummings III who was set to attend Induction Day the following day.

It wasn’t until hours after her death Harrod was picked up on the warrant for leaving house arrest and that police say they connected him to the shooting.

After an investigation, he was charged Wednesday by Annapolis police with first and second-degree murder and a raft of other charges in the shooting death of Cummings.

At a bail review Thursday, District Court Associate Judge Danielle Mosley ordered Harrod held without bond.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Miller argued that Harrod should not be released because he has shown a “brazen and reckless disregard to human life” and has shown “time and time again he is dangerous.”

Harrod’s mother, Angela Ragin and another family member attended the hearing. While Miller spoke, Ragin could be heard saying “prove it” several times in response to Miller’s claims that Harrod sought to kill the two victims inside the parked car.

Ragin declined to comment after the hearing.

Kathleen Kirchner, Harrod’s attorney, said her client maintains his innocence. She declined to comment further following the hearing.

Releasing people on house arrest is “fairly common” and depends on a number of factors such as the nature of the case, the person’s background and the evidence against them, said John Robinson, a veteran defense attorney and former Anne Arundel County prosecutor.

“It’s fairly common to put people on house arrest pending trial, pending a violation of probation,” he said. “If it’s a murder case, no you’re not going to be put on house arrest.”

A state corrections spokesperson could not discuss Harrod’s criminal history, including why he was placed on house arrest or for how long, because Harrod is no longer under the supervision of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Harrod was released to mandatory supervision in September of 2017, meaning by law he had completed his sentence and earned credits to be released at that time, state prisons spokesperson Mark Vernarelli said.

Harrod had one parole hearing during his 2017 incarceration and was refused parole by the Parole Commission, Vernarelli said.

During his second stint on house arrest starting April 22 of this year, Harrod was staying at his mother’s Annapolis home following two separate incidents in February and April, according to court documents.

In February, Harrod was accused of pistol-whipping a man in a car during a disagreement over $2 while the man’s child was present, and was charged with misdemeanor assault and handgun charges, court documents show. Two months later, he was picked up again and charged with possession of a handgun, a misdemeanor, and felony marijuana possession, according to the documents.

County prosecutors asked the court that Harrod be held without bond. Instead, a judge opted to place him on home confinement, said Tia Lewis, a spokesperson with the Anne Arundel State’s Attorney’s Office.

On May 3, a house arrest case manager told Harrod he had four hours to return to detention facilities because he “did not have a viable home plan,” according to police charging documents.

Ragin told correctional authorities she wanted her son out of her home because he was “drinking, combative and very disrespectful,” court records show.

Around 1 p.m. Harrod cut off the ankle bracelet and fled, police said.

Nearly two months after escaping, Harrod was identified as the primary suspect in Cummings’ shooting after investigators reviewed video and photographic evidence from the crime scene, police said.

The evidence shows a man walking in the area of Pleasant Street holding a gun. The man then pulled out the gun to shoot at two people in a parked car, police said. Police later identified the man as Harrod, who goes by the nickname “Jello.”

The man’s shots were “in direct line” with the patio where Cummings was standing, police wrote in charging documents.

Several bullets struck the parked minivan, missing the occupants; one bullet soared over a brick wall and struck Michelle Cummings, police wrote.

Afterward, police say the shooter got into a car and left the area. Police have since interviewed the driver of the vehicle that was targeted, they said, which led to several sealed search warrants seeking additional evidence “that implicates the suspect.”

Harrod has been charged with two counts of attempted first- and second-degree murder.

Hours later, Harrod was identified by patrol officers at a 24-hour gas station at the intersection of Forest Drive and Tyler Avenue. An officer attempted to stop Harrod, who fled on foot and assaulted an officer before being arrested a short distance away, police said.

In addition to charges he faces in Cummings’ death, Harrod is facing counts of assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and other charges in that incident, online court records show.

Harrod has been prohibited from possessing a gun since about May 2010, six months after he turned 18. He was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and served nine months behind bars, according to court documents.

In December 2010, and again in January 2011, he was arrested twice more on handgun charges. He served nine months in jail.

Drug possession charges followed in 2014 that included a 20-day jail term.

In 2016, he was arrested again for possessing a gun and posted a $150,000 bail. Court records show Ragin established a payment plan through a bail bondsman to pay the requisite $15,000, 10% of the bail.


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