Hate Crime Charge Dropped Against Teens Accused of Setting Fire - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Hate Crime Charge Dropped Against Teens Accused of Setting Fire to Trump Billboard

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- Authorities have dropped some of the more serious charges filed against two teenagers accused of setting fire to a billboard in Princess Anne featuring a campaign ad for President Donald Trump. 

Princess Anne police said that on Thursday, the cases of 19-year-old Joy M. Shuford, of Owings Mills, Md., and 19-year-old D'Asia R. Perry, of Baltimore, were called in the District Court. Police said that in both cases the charges of race/religion harassment people (hate crime), as well as second-degree arson were dismissed. The decision to dismiss the charges was based upon a joint decision between the Princess Anne Police Department and the Somerset County State’s Attorney’s Office upon reviewing the case. 

The remaining charges, which included four counts of second-degree malicious burning, six counts of second-degree malicious destruction of property, trespassing and obstruction and hindering, are scheduled for trial at a later date. 

Investigators said the fire occurred shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, April 14 in the area of 12138 Carol Lane in Princess Anne. Authorities said the billboard was owned by Robert Wink and located in the nearby shopping center. An investigation revealed that someone intentionally set the billboard on fire due to political differences with the billboard's postings, and the fire caused about $800 in damages. The Princess Anne Fire Department responded to the fire after a passerby called 911. The fire was put out within a few minutes. 

During the ensuing investigation, deputy state fire marshals said they identified Shuflord and Perry as the suspects. They were arrested shortly thereafter.

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