ANNAPOLIS — In the state of Maryland, solicitation to commit murder is considered a misdemeanor crime — a fact that several state officials are seeking to change.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks testified Thursday before Maryland’s House Judiciary Committee with another prosecutor and two police officers to encourage lawmakers to make the crime a felony, as well as to remove the current three-year statute of limitations for the offense.
Alsobrooks’ testimony was spurred by the June 2005 case of Stacey Seaton, 17, who died at a local hospital after being shot in the back of the head. Macdonald Abraham ordered her killing, but wasn’t arrested until four years later. He was ultimately sentenced in 2012 to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised probation for second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Authorities said Abraham, who paid a man $400 and $200 in marijuana to kill Seaton, took a plea deal in order to receive a lighter sentence.
Seaton, three weeks shy of her 18th birthday, was also pregnant at the time of her death.
The bill, sponsored by Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D-District 23), also seeks to make the conspiracy charge a felony.
“This will allow us very important tools we discovered we did not have in our toolbox at the time that Gale Seaton’s very precious daughter, Stacey, was murdered,” Alsobrooks said. “It will allow us to fully hold individuals accountable.”
Seaton, of Bowie, who also testified before the committee, received help from Alsobrooks when she discovered six months ago that state law brands solicitation a misdemeanor.
“I’ll never get over it,” Seaton said while choking up. “My daughter got a death sentence. Abraham got a slap on the wrist.”
Prince George’s County Police Department Maj. William Alexander said the department has more than 1,000 cold murder cases on file. In the past 10 years, about a dozen cases involved solicitation to commit murder, he said.
Anne Arundel County Assistant State’s Attorney William Katcef read a list of other offenses listed as felonies such as theft over $1,500, writing a bad check that exceeds $1,500 and interference of a horse race.
“But solicitation to commit murder is a misdemeanor,” he said. “It seems to me that needs to be changed.”