Jason T Scott unleashed a “spree of terror” in Prince George’s County, committing a series of armed home invasions, burglaries, gun offenses, and the sexual assault of a teenage girl, Maryland’s U.S. Attorney said Friday as Scott’s federal trial drew to a close.
“The evidence in this case is so overwhelming that it practically breaks the scales,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein told a federal jury, displaying a miniature scales of justice.
Federal prosecutors allege that Scott went on an increasingly violent series of crimes in 2008 and into 2009, when he and a codefendant were arrested for trying to sell stolen firearms.
In a separate case, Scott is charged in a grisly double-murder in Prince George’s County. Police have said he also is under investigation in other killings.
The evidence, Rosenstein told jurors in U.S. District Court in Maryland, includes three separate confessions Scott provided, accompanied by an attorney;testimony by two accomplices who committed crimes with Scott; and the stolen guns, computers, and other items found when federal agents executed a search of the Largo home where Scott lived with his parents.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Kobie Flowers said Scott’s confessions were false, and he asserted that the testimony of alleged accomplices is unreliable because of their criminal backgrounds. Contrary to the government’s position that Scott masterminded the crimes, Scott was manipulated by his friends and associates, Flowers said. Scott used special soap to lighten his complexion, and struggled with his identity as a gay man, Flowers said.
“You’ve got a man who was a weaker man,” who was manipulated by physically larger friends and associates, he said. Federal prosecutors presented a raft of circumstantial and direct evidence against Scott during the trial, which lasted nearly three weeks.
Scott started out with home burglaries, then graduated to armed home invasions, Marcus D. Hunter, 25, testified for the government. Hunter said he committed dozens of burglaries and at least six home invasions with Scott. Hunter said he and Scott burglarized a Carroll County gun store, stole dozens of handguns, rifles, shotguns, and a large amount of ammunition, and sold some of the firearms — to a law enforcemetn informant, it turned out.
Hunter has pleaded guilty to two gun offenses and testified for the government under a plea deal in which he hopes to obtain leniency when he is sentenced.
None of the victims of the home invasions were able to identify Scott or any other assailant, because the attackers wore black ski masks, according to court testimony. Investigators did not find Scott’s fingerprints at any of the crime scenes, because he wore gloves, prosecutors said.
But in addition to the testimony of Hunter and another co-defendant who admitted he committed break-ins with Scott, prosecutors presented a wealth of evidence implicating Scott.
For instance, during a search of Scott’s room in the summer of 2009, investigators found items stolen from victims of burglaries and home invasions.
Among the items investigators found were still photos and a video of a teenager who was sexually assaulted by a man wearing a black mask during a home invasion. The photos showed the attacker wore a backpack and gloves with particular markings; prosecutors put into evidence a backpack and gloves taken from Scott’s room, which appeared to match the items in the photos of the assault.
Scott worked as a clerk at a UPS facility in Largo, and used a work computer to scout potential target homes, prosecutors said. An agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which led the federal probe, testified that a series of home addresses were checked on a UPS computer while Scott was working there.
Those homes were later burglarized or targeted for home invasions, sometimes just days after the computer check, the agent testified.
Hunter testified that he and Scott often went to an abandoned home off Route 202 in Upper Marlboro, which he called the “Spooky House,” to divide their loot.
After his arrest in the summer of 2009, Scott himself confessed to federal agents that he had committed 61 crimes, including 28 burglaries and nine home invasions. Scott provided several addresses, which investigators confirmed had been burglarized or had b been the target of home invasions.
In his opening statement, Flowers admitted Scott illegally possessed and sold the stolen firearms, but said he was innocent of the other offenses he was charged with.
Flowers said then that Scott “exaggerated” his criminal misdeeds because he was “struggling with his identity” as a gay man. However, Scott did not testify in his own defense, and Flowers called no defense witnesses who said anything about the defendant’s sexuality or whether he was struggling with it.
Scott is scheduled to go on trial in Circuit Court in Prince George’s in November on charges he murdered Delores Dewitt, 42, and her daughter Ebony, 20. Their burning bodies were found inside a burning, stolen car in Largo on March 16, 2009.
Prince George’s police also consider Scott a “person of interest” in the double-homicide of another mother and daughter from Largo. On Jan. 16, the bodies of Karen Lofton, 45, and her daughter Karissa, 16, were found inside their locked home. Both were shot to death.
Police have said Scott is also being investigated in connection with a 2008 murder in which a woman in Bowie was shot to death inside her home, which was then set on fire.