When they searched that man’s residence this week, investigators said, they found the same brand of glove — for the right hand.
“One was a left, and one was a right,” Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Mays said in court Wednesday, arguing that the suspect, Jakel Delante Stone, 31, of Glen Burnie, should remain jailed without bond pending further court action in the case.
Stone is charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 10 killing of Darius Cooper, 25. Stone’s alleged connection to the glove emerged in court filings made public the same day he appeared in court. Mays also cited Stone’s lengthy criminal record, including a home-invasion robbery outside Philadelphia that turned into a fatal gun battle.
But Stone’s attorney pointed to the case at hand, which, even by the detectives’ accounts, apparently had stemmed from a fight. Stone may well have been acting in self-defense, said the attorney, Anagha Bharadwaj.
“This is not a situation where Mr. Stone identified a stranger and then chose to assault or murder him. This is a case where there was an ongoing conflict,” Bharadwaj added.
She asked that Stone be released to home detention with electronic monitoring.
“If it was just those facts and no criminal history, maybe,” Maryland District Judge Aileen Oliver told Bharadwaj before ordering Stone held without bond.
The earlier Gaithersburg shooting, whose victim was being honored with the candlelight vigil, involved officers from that city’s police department
Just before 6 p.m. on Jan. 8, four plainclothes officers approached Kwamena Ocran, 24, in the Chelsea Park Apartments after being tipped off that he had a gun, police said. Ocran fled, displayed a gun, and police fatally shot him, Gaithersburg Police Chief Mark Sroka said at the time.
The actions of the officers, who were not wearing body cameras and remain under investigation for the shooting, sparked outrage among residents and those who knew Ocran. They held a candlelight vigil for him at the apartment complex two days later, starting at 4 p.m. More than 30 people gathered, police said.
Just after 6 p.m., as the crowd was dispersing, a single gunshot was fired, striking Cooper in the abdomen. Police and medics responded. Cooper was taken to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where he died.
To police, the crime scene suggested that a fight had preceded the shooting.
“Notably, the victim’s broken eyeglasses lay on the ground along with his keys and cell phone,” they wrote in charging documents filed in court.
An eye witness also told detectives that “the victim and the suspect were fighting when the suspect pulled a gun. The victim then grabbed at the gun after which a single gunshot was heard,” the charging document stated.
The witness didn’t know the gunman but said he was about 6-foot-1 and had dreadlocks, according to charging documents.
Investigators had several DNA samples taken and tested, including from the inside of the glove and the back of the victim’s right hand, according to court papers. Both of those samples, after being sent to a database of known offender DNA profiles, came back as matches to Stone, police allege.
Police cited other clues: A check of Stone’s photo at the Maryland Vehicle Administration showed a man with dreadlocks. A look at his Instagram account revealed that Ocran, the earlier shooting victim, was among his Instagram followers, suggesting that the two had been acquaintances, and “it is reasonable to believe that [Stone] would have attended the memorial gathering,” detectives wrote.
Eleven years ago, according to Pennsylvania court records and media accounts, Stone and at least two other men forced their way into a home outside Philadelphia, hoping to seize $150,000 from an apparent drug dealer. Instead, they ran up against an occupant armed with a 9mm Glock handgun — leading to a gun battle in which at least 22 shots were fired and one of the intruders was killed, according the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Stone pleaded guilty in the case, was sentenced to state prison in Pennsylvania and was paroled on June 24, 2020, according to Pennsylvania state records. He is to be on parole in that case until 2028, the records show.