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Man indicted in 2 Pr. George's killings; ATF, police raids led to break in case

Jason Scott read up on how evidence is collected so he could cover his trail, sources say.
Jason Scott read up on how evidence is collected so he could cover his trail, sources say. (Prince George's State's Attorney's Office)
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Richard Arnold, another lawyer who represented Scott in previous cases, said Scott struck him as a "very mild-mannered, easygoing guy" of "reasonable intelligence."

"That he would commit a crime of any nature, for me I don't see it," he said. "But I've been fooled."

Neighbors said they knew Scott as a pariah but never pegged him as a killer. One said that in 1997, she twice caught Scott peeping through her teenage daughter's window. One of those times, she called police but was told that no charges could be filed because she could not "positively identify" Scott. She said she told her daughter to spread word of the incidents through the schools she and Scott attended (first Kettering Middle School, then Largo High School) in hopes that it might deter him. It apparently did, she said, adding that it was a "total shock" to learn that police believe Scott is a killer.

Law enforcement sources said Scott read Internet articles and books on how evidence is gathered so he could learn to scrub his crime scenes and changed his methods to throw police off his trail. An FBI profiler had even concluded that the two mother-daughter killings were unrelated. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

But Scott was a prolific criminal, court records show. And as is usually the case with prolific criminals, they don't stay under the radar for long. He has no criminal convictions on his adult record, but since his first arrest in 2009, police have charged him with several crimes dating to 2007.

In June 2009, according to federal court records, Scott drew the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a confidential informant told agents that a UPS employee named Jason and another man named Marcus were selling stolen guns in the Landover area. Already investigating a burglary at a gun shop in Woodbine, the ATF now had suspects.

For $1,000, the informant agreed to cooperate with ATF agents by trying to buy guns from Jason and Marcus. Authorities had identified the pair as Scott and Marcus D. Hunter, 24, court records show. Later that month, the undercover operation came to fruition. For $3,000, the informant bought four guns from Scott. Three had been stolen from the gun shop in Woodbine, court records show.

The big break

On July 1, 2009, the agents raided Scott's family home, court records show. A dozen guns were taken out of the house that day, along with a bulletproof vest, a police scanner and a silencer, the records say. Agents also found what appeared to be a burglar's kit -- a crowbar, Gerber tool gloves and a ski cap -- and some of his loot, including computer equipment and a set of BMW car keys, court records show. They contacted Prince George's police.

That, police now say, was their big break in the mother-daughter slayings.

Prince George's police searched Scott's house again and found evidence connecting him to several break-ins in the area. Court records say a stolen handgun connected him to a December 2007 burglary on Albert Drive in Mitchellville. A computer tower connected him to a June 2008 burglary on West Branch Drive in the Kettering area. An Xbox and two spare keys to a BMW connected him to a burglary on Dunwood Valley Drive in Bowie in May 2009. Computer equipment connected him to another burglary that month on Aventine Lane. Two camera lenses connected him to a theft from a fire investigator's car in May 2009. He was charged in each of those cases, but the charges were dropped in favor of federal charges in a separate case.

Hunter told police that he and Scott were also involved in two home invasions: one on March 14, 2009, on Pickering Circle in Largo, the other Oct. 4, 2008, on Medinah Ridge Road in Accokeek, court records show. In the October home invasion, the two were forced to run when the homeowner wrestled one of their guns away; in the March home invasion, they made off in a woman's 2002 Cadillac SLS, the records show.

But perhaps the most telling item was a computer flash drive containing pictures of a naked, young-looking female with a pillowcase over her head and a butterfly tattoo on her left hand, court records show. That young woman had returned to her Fort Washington home with her mother on June 13, 2009, to find a man holding her younger sister at gunpoint, the records show. The man ordered her into a separate bedroom, made her strip, took nude photos of her and sexually assaulted her, the records show. Police now think the man was Scott, and he was charged in that incident.

It is unclear whether the raids in July produced any evidence to link Scott directly to the Dewitt or Lofton killings. Police have said the ATF search was a break in the case, although they have declined to discuss the evidence they have. Sources said the evidence is largely circumstantial and relies heavily on computer forensics and Scott's access to a UPS database with names and addresses.

Hylton previously said the evidence is "overwhelming" and places Scott at the "crime scene." He said Tuesday that experts in anthropology and botany from the University of Maryland assisted with a sweeping investigation.

"While I don't want to glorify his intellectual capacity, I will tell you he is a challenge to us," Hylton said.

Scott was arrested after the July 1 raid. Police have subsequently dropped and added various charges to keep him behind bars while they investigate the slayings. Court records show that he has given statements to authorities at least three times. At the time of Tuesday's indictment, he was being held on federal carjacking, weapons and sex charges, court records state.

Staff researcher Meg Smith and staff writer Maria Glod contributed to this report.

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