Md. "Joker" Threat Case Dismissed Over Charging Document Issue

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A single word led a judge to dismiss the case of a Maryland man who allegedly called himself "The Joker" while threatening a shooting rampage at his workplace. Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports.

    The trial for the Maryland man accused of calling himself  "the Joker" while phoning in a threat to his workplace was dismissed due to an issue with the charging document, News4 Washington's Tracee Wilkins reported.

    The defense for Neil Prescott argued they couldn't properly prepare because the charging document written by the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office used the word “or” instead of “and” in the phrase "threaten, harass or annoy."
    "The judge said that the charging document in this case was not specific enough," Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said.
    In its opening statement Tuesday, the defense argued the language was too vague and the charging document flawed.
    "That's a legal theory that the defense raised," Alsobrooks said. "The judge agreed and made the decision based on it. We obviously disagreed, but we respect the judge's decision."
    The State's Attorney's Office didn’t make a mistake in charging Prescott but used the only laws on the books available, Alsobrooks said.
    "Making a threat of mass violence ought to be against the law in Maryland," she said. "Maryland is one of only seven states where this is not illegal."

    Alsobrooks said she helped craft legislation to make it easier to prosecute people accused of making mass threats, but that legislation died before the end of the legislative session.

    Prescott, who was charged with one count of telephone misuse carrying maximum sentence of three years in prison, could be charged again, Wilkins reported. Prosecutors said they will review their case to determine whether or not to refile charges.

    Prescott threatened July 23, 2012, to load his guns and shoot up his workplace, police said. According to a warrant, Prescott, made the threat during a phone call when a supervisor contacted him about a work-related matter, then made similar statements in a separate conversation about 15 minutes later, and acknowledged, “It's kind of foolish of me to say this kind of thing over government phone.”

    Law enforcement sources told News4 Washington that Prescott's employer — a subcontractor for Pitney Bowes — was ready to fire him, upsetting Prescott, who is accused of saying, "I'm gonna load my guns and blow everybody up," and that he wanted to see the supervisor's "brain splatter all over the sidewalk," according to a search warrant.

    Law enforcement sources told News4 Washington that Prescott made threats — saying something to the effect of, "You don't know who the real Joker is; I am the real Joker," prompting Pitney Bowes to call authorities.

    The "Joker" reference put police on edge as it came a few days after a mass shooting at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.

    ATF agents recovered more than 20 legally purchased firearms and 400 rounds of ammunition from Prescott's Crofton apartment. Now Prescott can get those guns back.

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