Murder USA: Did someone shoot and kill a motorcyclist along the Hughesville Bypass? Medical Examiner says no, wound forensic examiner thought was a bullet was puncture caused by crash
News & Commentary
HUGHESVILLE, MD – February 29, 2016 — What could have simply been a motorcycle wreck may turn out to be murder, reports police, due to the seldom used practice of a forensic examiner responding to the crash scene to examine the body. In cases of an unattended death, a medical examiner takes a look at a deceased person in the examination room of the Maryland State Medical Examiner.
That examination happened on Feb. 29, 2016. According to the State Police the Medical Examiner found that what a forensic investigator thought was a bullet wound was actually a puncture brought about by the wreck of the bike.
According to an update by the Maryland State Police, an autopsy conducted this morning, Feb. 29th, on the body of a man found at a Charles County motorcycle crash scene yesterday has determined he was not shot, but died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
The victim is identified as Robert T. Anderson, 44, of the 22000-block of Conrad Drive, Patuxent River, MD. An autopsy at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore today determined Anderson died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma injuries he sustained in the crash. The wound observed by the forensic examiner on the scene that appeared to possibly be a gunshot wound was determined to have been caused by a puncture that occurred during the crash.
The Maryland State Police report that when Troopers first responded to a report of a crash on the Hughesville Bypass, of Md. Rt. 5, they believed this was a case of a motorcyclist who had simply left the roadway while northbound, not far from the All-American Harley-Davidson dealership.
The motorcyclist was ejected and in a great number of cases where that happens, the person is dead, thus, the often-used term to describe motorcycles as “donor-cycles” due to head injuries being a fairly common cause of death.
While many motorcycle wrecks can be ascribed to careless and reckless drivers of four-wheel vehicles who crush, crash and pull out in front of motorcycles; Police believes the speeding object that caused the death of this unidentified biker was far different from the usual Sunday drivers.
The culprit is a speeding bullet delivered from a firearm of as yet unknown type and caliber.
The crash, therefore, would not be classified as a crash unless police could prove that the deceased male was armed and somehow his weapon discharged during the crash and ended his life. While that is possible, it would be the first time in this area, though not impossible.
Far more probable would be a motorist who decided to eliminate a biker.
Given the fact that on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, the weather was a sparkling crystal clear blue day of radiant sunshine with temperatures approaching seventy degrees, boats were appearing on nearby waterways and motorcyclists were indulging themselves in the passion of hitting the highways and byways of Maryland for the first time in months.
With more bikers on the roads, it is possible that some of the old brain-dead bozos of local biker gangs who have yet to die of meth or heroin overdoses had a score to settle and targeted the victim.
This possibility is not a real stretch as it was on another beautiful Sunday, on April 20, 1997, right after a Blessing of the Bikes about ten miles from Sunday’s possible homicide, that participants left the assembly at Sandgates and found their way to the Mousetrap Bar on Rt. 5 across from Bert’s 50’s Drive-In in Mechanicsville, Md.
While families stretched their legs and looked at classic cars, at Bert’s, feuding motorcyclists clashed in the biker-ridden bar across the street. Their beef turned to murder and Paul D. Herrington lay dead on the barroom floor.
Three men were initially arrested, members of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Gang. Other gangs, including the Hell’s Angels, have haunted the roads and bars of Southern Maryland, with some of them involved in shootings such as took place at the Happy Harbor in Deale. Police had given intense surveillance to the biker bars such as Ape Hangers in Charles County and even raided a Hells Angels hideout in Owings while conducting a standoff with outlaw bikers in North Beach when they threatened to conduct open warfare at a beach festival in 2003 and Toots Bar in Hollywood in 2006.
With that kind of background and history of biker warfare in the region, it is not out of the realm of the possible for a murdered motorcyclist found along Rt. 5 on a beautiful warm winter afternoon to be yet another development in the drug-fueled life of mayhem and crime among the area’s brain-cell deficient outlaw motorcycle gangs.
The St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department began an investigation which quickly included the Charles County Sheriff’s Department gang intelligence commander, Capt. Michael Wyant. Charged with murdering Paul David Herrington, 32, of 26879 Cox Drive in Country Lakes neighborhood of Mechanicsville were three men.
One man who wasn’t charged was a man who lived not far from the victim.
On April 7, 1997, Herrington had filed criminal assault charges against Kevin Allen Smith, who at the time lived at 4315 Cox Court in Mechanicsville. The charges filed by Herrington predated his murder by only three days. On May 7, 1997, St. Mary’s County States Attorney Walter B. Dorsey dropped the charges against Smith due to the lack of a complainant – Herrington, who was dead.
The murder charges brought by Detective Julian Schwab targeted James “Bear” Michael Arrington, of 11725 Quade Street in Waldorf, Md.; Robert Scott “Backwards Bob” Grieninger, 34, of La Plata, Md., James W. “Cricket” Herbert Sr., 34, of La Plata, Md.
Schwab charged that Arrington and the two other defendants murdered Herrington, the vicious act which the victim’s wife, Barbara Brown Herrington observed. The attack began in the bar, which was later found to have been videotaped and advanced to the parking lot where witnesses across the street could plainly see the mayhem carried out as a violent part of a Hollywood movie. The animals of the motorcycle gang relentlessly pursued Herrington with repeated blows from a flashlight, punching him, kicking him and striking him in the face, while pinning him to the ground, according to official charging documents, aided by witness testimony.
St. Mary’s Sheriff Detective Lt. Ron Maloy wrote that “As a result of the severity of the injuries, victim Herrington succumbed at the scene. The Mechanicsville Rescue Squad attempted to revive him to no avail. According to witnesses, at least, three suspects were involved in the attack and were described as motorcycle gang members and were last seen fleeing the area on motorcycles northbound on Rt. 5.”
Detective Schwab stated that the witness identified the killers from a photographic lineup.
Herrington’s wife, Barbara wrote to ST. MARY’S TODAY newspaper and described the scene.
“Will you please explain our justice system to me?
“On April 20, 1997, my husband was murdered by three of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Gang. There was nine people in the van that the guys got out of and none of them have been charged. The three that were charged were Robert S. Grieninger, (34 years of age of La Plata, Md.) James W. Herbert Sr., (34, of La Plata, Md.,) and James M. Arrington and all are out on bail.
“How does a person that commits murder be allowed to walk the streets? They beat my husband to death with a flashlight. I can’t get any information at all on what happened with the trial or charges. I have tried to find out what is going on with the law holding my husbands’ things. They have his chops, shirts, jeans, boots, things that were in his wallet, money, sentimental things, they gave me his belt buckle, that was so beaten in that you couldn’t eve tell what it was, where he was beaten in the stomach. Why did they not keep that for evidence, his wedding band was all bent up to where these men held him to the ground, there are a lot of things that do not make sense? This was all they gave me back. It has been almost three months since this biker gang took my husband from me. Don’t I have the right to know what is going on? I have had to give up everything we had because of this. My life is and has been nothing but fear. Please help me to understand why. They are out on bail, and yet they are on probation, answer that?
“Can you explain why three men go free?”
“I am now fighting this by myself; I have lost all confidence in our court system. Why did they not search all the club member’s homes and businesses, why? It does not make any sense. These people are out harassing my family and all while nothing is done. Why? They say that they do not leave enough evidence, they have a videotape, witnesses and all. Why are they out (on bail) I wonder if anyone is getting paid off? My husband’s civil rights were violated and I called the FBI, they refused to help because it is not a drug or gun related. Why? What is our court and law system coming to? I would appreciate any answer you could give me. These men have records.” – signed Barbara Herrington
In a second letter, Barbara Herrington disputed a report that her husband had also been in a motorcycle gang and said that he only rode on Sundays. She said he was a hard-working electrician and was never involved in fights. She also said that the incidents of fights had started several days earlier at the Lone Star Bar in Indian Head in Charles County and was amazed that Grieninger was getting away with murder for a second time, having killed a 17-year-old boy.
The thugs also attacked two men who claimed they attempted to intervene in the motorcycle gang attack which could have inspired an episode of the top-rated TV series Sons of Anarchy, which ran on FX from 2008 to 2014.
Listed by police as additional victims of the Iron Horsemen Gang attack were Joseph T. Kilroy, who at the time was 28 years old and lived in Mechanicsville and was punched in the face several times for his trouble; and Randy A. Boarman, who told deputies he had received shoulder and facial injuries and was treated and released from St. Mary’s Hospital.
The story of what happened when the killers came to trial in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court is yet another indictment of the criminal justice system in Maryland and the incompetence of the local prosecutors and police. The bungled first trial ended in a mistrial after Deputy States Attorney Christy Chesser, who was supposed to handle the case, instead assigned a new prosecutor who was unfamiliar with any details of the case on the day the trial started. With a bad start like that, the case fizzled. The States Attorney, Walter Dorsey, then was faced with having to pull the irons out of the fire, and with the work of his investigator, Dan Morris, was able to save the case and get a guilty verdict.
Central to the case was a dispute over the motorcycle “colors” that Herrington had in his possession and in spite of her vigorous assertion that he was not involved in a biker gang, the colors triggered the brutal and vicious murder at the hands of the defendants.
This is Maryland where liberal Democrats have been appointing liberal nimrod Judges for decades, where capital punishment has been abolished by Nimrod liberal legislators and vicious criminals like Grieninger get easy treatment from incompetent prosecutors and silly judges.
The incompetence in the case was more on St. Mary’s Circuit Court Judge John Hanson Briscoe, who threw out the second-degree murder charges, saying that the prosecution didn’t present evidence that the brutal and deadly beating they administered to Herrington as they pinned him to the ground, beating him with a flashlight, their fists, and feet, would lead to his death. Exactly what Judge Briscoe thought such actions would bring were countermanded by the facts: Herrington was pronounced dead on the spot they beat him to death. Briscoe’s background in law had been working as a real estate settlement attorney and in politics as a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly where he rose to the post of Speaker before retiring and then being selected as a Judge by his political ally, the Governor.
The autopsy showed that Herrington had died of a brain aneurysm, not his injuries. A jury in this day and age would likely conclude, after being better educated on matters of law by TV shows than apparently Judge Briscoe, that an aneurysm occurred as a result of the brutal and vicious beating.
A no-brainer, one might say.
In any event, the jury was left with misdemeanor assault charges and couldn’t agree on a verdict and Briscoe declared a mistrial.
In June of 1998, the second attempt to jail the killers found Williams and Arrington guilty of assault.
Briscoe then had to admit that he “accidentally” signed a motion to dismiss the murder charge against Grieninger. When Judge Briscoe tried to put the genie back in the bottle and rescind his order, the attorney for Grieninger, Wilmer Ticer, of Oxon Hill, fought it and took the case to the Court of Appeals.
Dorsey then made a move to charge Grieninger with the assault and robbery of the other two victims at the Mouse Trap Murder.
In a plea deal with the Charles County States Attorney, Grieninger once again made monkeys out of Charles County prosecutors and before it was all over, a move by Federal Prosecutors in the U. S. Attorney’s Office bungled the confiscation of seized motorcycles from Grieninger’s biker shop, Scooters, located in La Plata.
What happened led to a Federal Judge ruling that Grieninger’s attorney was right, that the U. S. Attorney blew it by filing the court papers a day late and apparently, shortchanging the taxpayers much more than a dollar due to their incompetence.
Court records state that on July 27, 2012, state and federal agents executed a search and seizure warrant at a garage apparently named Scooter’s Automotive & Repair or Scooter’s Place Towing and Service
(“Scooter’s”). Scooter’s is located at 5130 Hawthorne Road, La Plata, Maryland 20646.
According to the United States, Claimant Robert Scott Grieninger (“Grieninger”) managed
Scooter’s. The agents discovered loaded guns, drug paraphernalia, cocaine in a leather vest, and $3,364.00 cash in a toolbox. On the same day, detectives executed a search and seizure warrant at Grieninger’s residence, which is located at 6000 Winters Place, La Plata, Maryland 20646.
There, detectives discovered a loaded pistol and a small Ziploc bag of “suspected cocaine.” Doc. No. 1 at 6.
On July 31, 2012, detectives executed a search and seizure warrant authorizing the seizure of bank records and funds from Grieninger’s accounts with PNC Bank in La Plata, Maryland (“PNC”). On August 29, 2012, detectives received documents about two PNC bank accounts. The first account, PNC 5570194743 (“Account 1”), was in the name of both
Grieninger and Karen Elaine Clement. Account 1 held $10,371.41. The second account, PNC 5570736901 (“Account 2”), was in Grieninger’s name only and held $15,077.18. The detectives seized the funds from both accounts as drug proceeds.
Grieninger has been charged with various offenses as a result of the detectives’ discoveries. The United States adds that Grieninger has reported no income.
On or around December 13, 2012, Claimants, through counsel, filed a claim contesting the forfeiture. See Doc. No. 8-3. The Parties agreed to extend the United States’ deadline for commencing a judicial forfeiture action from March 13, 2013, to June 11, 2013.
The United States asserts that it finalized the instant Verified Complaint for Forfeiture (Complaint) on June 11, 2013, and submitted it to its office staff for filing on the same day. However, the United States did not file its Complaint until June 12, 2013, which came one day after the extended deadline. The United States concedes that its office runner did not take the Complaint to the Court for filing until June 12, 2013.
See Doc. No. 8 at 3–4. The United States asserts that “support staff personnel believed that the complaint was placed in the outgoing box in time for the office runner’s [July 11, 2013] afternoon run to the Court.” Id. ¶ 9, at 3. The United States adds that “[i]t is unclear whether the government’s complaint was not included in the runner’s afternoon run on July 11 because the runner left a few minutes earlier than normal, or whether office support staff personnel placed the complaint in the outgoing box a few minutes late.” Id. ¶10, at 3. The United States has not submitted affidavits to support these factual averments.
On July 30, 2013, Claimants filed a Motion to Dismiss. Doc. No. 6. Claimants assert that the Complaint is time-barred under applicable forfeiture law. The United States filed a Response on August 16, 2013. The United States essentially argues that it had good cause within the meaning of applicable forfeiture law for its failure to file the Complaint on time.
Alternatively, the United States seems to ask the Court to equitably toll the deadline. In this case, the United States has not shown good cause for its failure to timely file its Complaint.
The United States’ essential argument is that it mistakenly believed that one of its runners would file the Complaint on July 11, 2013 because it finalized the Complaint and submitted it to support staff for filing on the same day. But, if the United States did not finalize the Complaint until the deadline of July 11, 2013, it should have made greater efforts to ensure that it was filed on that day.
The United States seems to argue that it was reasonable for it to believe that the Complaint would be filed on July 11, 2013, because counsel for the United States followed standard office practice in preparing and submitting the Complaint for filing.
However, the United States failed to support this assertion with affidavits or other evidence, and hence, it warrants no weight. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A). Furthermore, this argument would not persuade the Court even had the United States properly supported it.
Office personnel could deviate from standard practice for any number of foreseeable reasons. Therefore, when faced with mandatory deadlines, the requirement of due diligence may obligate attorneys to go beyond standard practice to ensure that they respect the deadlines.
Cf. Model Rules Prof’l Cond. R. 1.3 (2011).
This case boils down to basic inattentiveness on the part of the United States. If such inattentiveness does not constitute good cause to, for instance, extend a scheduling order, it follows that it does not constitute good cause for failing to comply with a mandatory forfeiture deadline subject to strict construction.
As a result of the ruling of U. S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams, a former Prince Georges County States Attorney who understands the duty of a prosecutor to be diligent, he ordered on Nov. 15, 2013, that the motion of Grieninger’s attorney to dismiss the claim by the United States of forfeiture against the motorcycles and the cash. It is unclear if Grieninger got to keep the guns and drugs but he sure got the money, unless of course the money had been lost somewhere in the “system”.
Grieninger is now out of jail and lives at 6000 Winters Drive in La Plata, according to the last traffic ticket he added to his resume of mayhem and murder.
His Alford Plea of Guilty on Sept. 24, 2007, in the Toots Bar melee led to a plea deal with St. Mary’s County States Attorney Richard Fritz. Fritz let the killer have a deal which gave him 18 months in jail with a year, three months and one day of the sentence suspended, leaving but 2 months and 29 days to serve. The record of the assault case disclosed that the deal okayed work release. Fritz dropped the rest of the charges. On Jan. 8, 2008, Grieninger requested permission to travel, as he was on probation for one year. Wilmer Ticer once again represented Grieninger.
Calvert County Hells Angels: Silly and a downright embarrassment to Hells Angels
After a lengthy investigation by the Calvert County Sheriff’s Department and federal agents, joined by gang specialists from Charles County, the upstart Hells Angels Chapter in Calvert began to unravel.
A showdown between the Hells Angels and the Iron Horsemen at the beach festival in North Beach in 2002 was one of a series of activities which had been monitored by police.
A Mexican standoff between the cops and bikers came about in broad daylight with thousands of members of the public unaware of the potential for danger from the thugs and criminals who had arrived for their own version of fun at the beach.
In front of what was then known as “Thursdays”, a bar a block from the beach, located on the main drag of the town once known for being a biker haven, were a lineup of overweight versions of bikers who Hollywood would cast in the roles if they were looking for a group of silly and comedic, not to mention pathetic, bozos.
On the other side of the street dressed in their best utility gear were deputies, federal agents and Maryland troopers keeping a close eye on them. John Anthony Beal and Robert “Backwards Bob” Grieninger, who escaped a murder charge for the beating death of Paul Herrington at the Mouse Trap Bar in 1987, met in the middle of the street and exchanged words.
Grieninger told the Washington Post that the two exchanged words and that was it, ironing out some problems.
Beal’s new Hell’s Angels chapter was reported by police sources to be such an embarrassment to the national organization that they were just as anxious to shut them down as the police, albeit for different reasons.
At the Blessing of the Bikes, an annual gathering to bless the motorcyclists, many of whom are far from every reaching the pearly gates and likely have reserved suites in the fires of Hell, John Anthony Beal was observed selling cocaine.
Beal was indicted by the United States Attorney and on July 19, 2004 was sentenced to nearly four years in Federal Court, to be served in a federal prison.
The Iron Horsemen maintain a website for their members and have a special section where the list of members who are incarcerated in prisons can be reached by mail and the website includes the information that the members who are not yet imprisoned for their participation in various criminal enterprises of prostitution, assault, murder and drug dealing can reach those who are currently behind bars. The website has explicit instructions to use the “real names” of those they wish to send letters.
Beal, as a condition of his sentencing, was specifically ordered by the Federal Judge to not have any contact with his fellow gangsters once he was released on probation.
Beal’s criminal record in Maryland consists of merely traffic charges included texting while driving and an assault charge in Calvert, which was dropped, making him not too much of a fearsome Hell’s Angel. One police source believes that the Hells Angels threw him out of the criminal gang and took away his colors.
Cops seek tips on Hughesville Motorcyclist Crash
No information about a potential suspect or suspects is known at this time. Anyone who may have witnessed this crash or was in the area of the Rt. 5 bypass around 3 p.m. today is urged to contact the Maryland State Police at the La Plata Barrack at 301-392-1200.