GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A man awaiting trial in the killings of a nurse and her 20-year-old daughter was sentenced to 100 years in prison Tuesday for a violent crime spree involving dozens of armed home invasions and burglaries in Maryland.
A judge called Jason Scott a “tsunami of crime” in giving a sentence designed to ensure that the former UPS worker spends the rest of his life behind bars. Scott, 28, was convicted of federal crimes including armed carjacking and producing child pornography.
Prosecutors say he’s admitted to several dozen burglaries and violent robberies that terrorized Prince George’s County, in suburban Washington.
“You also will be remembered as one of the foulest, most hated people in Prince George’s County for what you did,” U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte told Scott, who made no statements on the advice of his lawyer.
Scott was convicted in July following a three-week trial in which prosecutors portrayed him as a calculating and sophisticated criminal who diligently researched his victims in advance and who was adept at covering his tracks.
He’d use a database at the UPS facility where he worked to target addresses he wanted to burglarize and research the homes to know how many people lived there and what type of jobs they had.
He’d disable alarm systems by cutting phone lines and travel the region with a backpack of burglary tools and a police scanner that enabled him to listen to emergency communications and know whether one of his victims was calling the police.
Wearing a black mask and gloves armed with a handgun, prosecutors say he broke into homes — sometimes by smashing glass windows and doors — as children slept inside, held up victims at gunpoint and made off with televisions, cars, computers and safes, prosecutors said. At one point, he broke into a gun shop and, along with another man, stole dozens of weapons.
He “hunted and stalked” his victims, even tracking down one girl after seeing her picture in a home, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf.
“This is a professional. This is someone who had the tools of the trade to make sure he could always handle his victims,” she said.
Prosecutors say Scott admitted in interviews with authorities to committing roughly 30 home burglaries and nine armed home invasion robberies. They say he also admitted to many other burglaries about which he did not provide specific details and that he had begun committing crimes as a youth.
In one case, authorities said, he sexually abused a 17-year-old girl after breaking into her family’s Fort Washington home with a cinder block and forced her to pose nude on a bed and touched her as he took photographs and videos of her.
In another case, Scott and an accomplice, Marcus Dermanellian Hunter — who has already pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges and is awaiting sentencing– held up a Bowie family at gunpoint in April 2009, used their debit cards to steal money from ATM machines and then stole a luxury car and other items.
One victim, Shirley Grooms, told the judge she’s afraid to answer the door or the phone if she’s not expecting a visit or doesn’t recognize the number. She’s also wary of accepting deliveries and stays up for most of the night because she’s scared to go to sleep.
“My life has changed. I’m a prisoner in my own home. I can’t go to bed until 4 in the morning, 5 in the morning, because I feel I have to be alert,” she said.
Scott’s lawyer, Kobie Flowers, urged the judge to sentence him to the minimum 97-year sentence, saying anything else would just be piling on since he’ll invariably die in prison.
Scott faces separate murder charges in the deaths of Delores Dewitt, a nurse, and her daughter, Ebony. The bodies of the women were found inside a burning car in Largo in March 2009. That case is scheduled for trial in October in Prince George’s County Circuit Court. Police say Scott is also suspected in the slayings of another woman — also a nurse — and her daughter, though no charges have been filed in that case.
A big break in the investigation came in the spring of 2009, when prosecutors say Scott and Hunter broke into a Maryland gun shop and stole more than three dozen weapons, including semi-automatic rifles, machine guns and silencers. Authorities said Scott then sold several of the stolen guns to a buyer who was cooperating with federal authorities.
Scott has been in custody since his July 2009 arrest, when authorities searching his bedroom and car found more than a dozen stolen guns, ammunition and holsters, ski masks, gloves and police scanners.
Susan Rosenberg, a UPS spokeswoman, said UPS was aware of the case and had cooperated with the investigation. She said UPS continually evaluates its policies, but that she was unaware of any changes in procedures made as a result of this case.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)