A Prince George County man, described once as the most hated man in the area, has agreed to a plea in the murder of a mother and daughter. Jason Scott took an Alford plea in an Upper Marlboro courtroom, effectively settling the murders of Delores and Ebony Dewitt.
An Alford plea is not the same a generic guilty plea. Essentially, it says that the accused is not admitting that he committed the crime, but only that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him for it. Though immaterial to some, the plea can be an effective strategy in a person's criminal defense.
In this case, the plea negotiation that resulted in the Alford plea included the prosecution's agreement not to pursue Scott's conviction for other murders to which he has been linked. While a fair sentence for the murders will be handed down, Scott had already been sentenced to 100 years in prison after being arrested for a string of robberies in 2012.
Though the plea may seem unnecessary, given the fact that he already is serving what amounts to a life sentence, prosecutors have a duty to pursue every crime that is committed. These extra charges result in additional penalties for those charges. In the case of a misdemeanor or first time felony, as opposed to serial murders, these additional penalties can mean extra years behind bars.
As a result, those charged with multiple crimes need to understand the implications of additional prosecutions. While one crime may be minor and result in a suspended sentence or probation, other crimes may result in jail sentences.
Local Upper Marlboro criminal defense attorneys recognize this danger to their clients. Therefore, they often will aggressively attempt to bundle multiple charges into one prosecution and seek a fair plea deal which resolves all outstanding allegations.
Source: ABC 7, "Jason Scott accepts Alford plea to killing Delores Dewitt, Ebony Dewitt," Robert Lyles, Sept. 25, 2013