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Victims killed ‘execution-style’ in $600 pot sale in Montgomery County, authorities say

Dontaye Jamahl Hunt, 18, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. (Montgomery County Police)

Two young men found fatally shot inside a crashed car in Montgomery County were killed by an 18-year-old to whom the pair was planning to sell $600 worth of marijuana, prosecutors alleged Friday.

“The shooter was believed to be inside the car when the shots were fired,” Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Larson said in court.

He said the victims killed Monday night along Stewart Lane in the county’s White Oak area were “shot at point-blank range, execution-style.”

The bullets hit the two men in the back and side, Larson said. The pair managed to drive a short distance before crashing. Police arrived to find them dead.

“It’s a pattern I’m seeing again and again,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Friday, speaking to a set of homicides in Montgomery linked to robberies of marijuana dealers or of marijuana buyers.

The killings have occurred during a movement in many parts of the country toward decriminalization for using pot or holding small quantities of it.

“Violence still surrounds the distribution of drugs, particularly marijuana,” he said. “I think that many people naively don’t think of marijuana in that context.”

McCarthy said marijuana buyers appear to be getting the drug on the black market because it’s less expensive and better quality. What should be done with state laws — and what parts of the pot distribution chain should be legalized — is an issue for the state legislature to tackle, he said, adding he would be glad to add his input.

“Current laws have not stemmed the violence associated with marijuana distribution,” he said.

Prosecutors said the victims, Jordan Radway, 23, and Christian Roberts, 24, of Silver Spring, had pulled into the 11500 block of Stewart Lane expecting to sell a quarter-pound of pot. Court records indicate Radway had arranged the sale.

The suspect, Dontaye Jamahl Hunt, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He made his first court appearance on Friday and was ordered to remain held in jail on no-bond status.

His attorney, Joseph McKenzie, had asked for release on bond.

“He’s getting all A’s right now, your honor,” at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, McKenzie said. “He’s not a problem child . . . He’s a very compliant and obedient child.”

Hunt also works part-time at a grocery store, McKenzie said. The attorney noted investigators’ allegations have not tied Hunt directly to the shootings.

“It’s clearly a circumstantial situation,” McKenzie said.

In sworn affidavits, detectives described their basis for charging Hunt and events they said led to the killings.

Just after 5 p.m. Monday, detectives wrote, Radway received a text message from Noah F. Barnett, 18, who said he had an acquaintance who wanted to buy marijuana from Radway. A short time later, Radway and the prospective buyer — Hunt — began exchanging texts and phone calls, according to the affidavits.

From those communications, detectives pieced together what they presented as a minute-by-minute series of events:

At 8:22 p.m., Radway texted Hunt to say he was five minutes away from their meeting.

Hunt immediately replied.

At 8:27 p.m., Radway called Hunt and they spoke for 15 seconds.

Around 8:30 p.m., witnesses heard gunshots in the area the 11500 block of Stewart Lane, the affidavit continues, and at 8:35 p.m., police were called about the car crash.

In the crashed car, officers found Radway and Roberts shot to death. They found no marijuana and no proceeds from any sale, according to an affidavit.

Investigators searched Roberts’s residence and “recovered what they believed to be a drug-sale ledger as well as distribution-quantities of suspected marijuana,” wrote Detective Frank Springer.

On Thursday, detectives arrested Barnett. The arrest affidavits do not state whether Barnett had any involvement beyond helping set up a marijuana sale.

Detectives charged Barnett with one count of conspiring with Radway to sell marijuana to Hunt, according to court records. He was originally held in jail on a bond of $3,500. He appeared in court Friday to have his bond conditions reviewed.

It was not clear where Barnett was attending school or if he was being home-schooled. He spoke briefly.

“Your honor, I just want to go home to my family. Continue to just do my schoolwork, and graduate this year,” he said. “I feel like that this would be holding me up from all of my college opportunities.”

But prosecutors urged that any possible bond be eliminated and that Barnett be held in jail. They said detectives found ammunition and an empty gun box in his home.

District Judge Amy Bills agreed with prosecutors and ordered Barnett held.

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