On May 18, 2023, a jury in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Maryland, following a nine-day trial, acquitted Crowell & Moring pro bono client, Annbel Massillon, of all twelve criminal charges against her.
Ms. Massillon, who was 18 at the time, was wrongfully charged with five counts of first-degree assault, five counts of use of a firearm in a crime of violence, one count of conspiracy (with Mr. Black) to commit first-degree assault, and one count of armed robbery. The State had alleged that on June 22, 2021, Ms. Massillon’s co-defendant, John Black, assaulted five individuals (Kennedy Merritt-Millet, Keiara Lainez, Aysia Samuels, Omar Musa, and Gordon Casey) by pointing a firearm at them. The State further alleged that Ms. Massillon acted as an accomplice and conspired to commit the assaults against those five individuals. Following those alleged assaults, and during a physical altercation between Ms. Massillon and Keiara Lainez, John Black allegedly shot and murdered Kennedy Merritt-Millet. Following the alleged murder, the co-defendants (Ms. Massillon and Mr. Black) allegedly committed armed robbery by taking Keiara Lainez’s wig and scarf through the use or threat of force.
The acquittals on all counts as to Ms. Massillon came after she had been detained and held in jail for the past twenty-three months on these charges and a related pending criminal case. Following the jury’s acquittal, the court ordered Ms. Massillon’s release from custody.
A week later, on May 25, 2023, the State dismissed the related pending criminal case against Ms. Massillon. As a result of the acquittal at trial and the dismissal of the other criminal case, Ms. Massillon is now free to resume her life. She is also able, with the Crowell team’s continuing assistance, to have her criminal record expunged.
The Crowell team included Michael Atkinson, Alicia Clausen, and Ryan Band. The team thanks the pro bono support of iDiscovery Solutions, especially, by Bobby R. Williams, Jr., who provided invaluable expert analysis on, among other things, geolocation data. The Crowell team also thanks Cavan Solutions Group, especially Jeff Cavanaugh, for their investigative work.
About Crowell & Moring LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia. Drawing on significant government, business, industry and legal experience, the firm helps clients capitalize on opportunities and provides creative solutions to complex litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and corporate and transactional issues. The firm is consistently recognized for its commitment to pro bono service as well as its programs and initiatives to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.