ELKTON — A judge sentenced a man to time served - 32 days - and then placed him on two years of supervised probation Monday for his role in the beating and robbing his former roommate at a Rising Sun park in March — a planned assault that resulted in the victim undergoing emergency surgery because he was bleeding internally from a ruptured spleen, according to court records.
Cecil County Circuit Court Judge William W. Davis Jr. imposed two concurrent five-year sentences on the defendant - Connor J. Wells, 21, of Rising Sun - for second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit robbery. Wells had pleaded guilty to those two misdemeanors on Sept. 12, as part of plea deal in which prosecutors dismissed related charges against him.
The judge then suspended all but the 32 days Wells was incarcerated after his arrest. Court records indicate that Wells served those 32 days as a pre-trial inmate at the Cecil County Detention Center on no bond from March 11, when he was arrested, until April 11 - the day he posted a $25,000 bond to secure his release after a bail review hearing.
As part of the sentence, Davis ordered Wells to serve two years of supervised probation and to pay $3,755.59 in restitution to the victim by himself or along with his co-defendant - Ethan Christian Shackelford, 19, of Conowingo.
During an Aug. 29 hearing, Shackelford also pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit robbery, according to Cecil Whig archives and court records. The judge in that case deferred Shackelford's sentencing and ordered him to participate in Cecil County Adult Drug Court.
Drug court is an intensive program in which qualified defendants must submit to random and scheduled drug tests; attend weekly court sessions; meet goals set by the presiding judge; and face punishments, including jail, for infractions. It can take up to two years to successfully complete the program and graduate.
The investigation leading to the arrests and convictions of Wells and Shackelford started at approximately 11:30 p.m. on March 5, when a Rising Sun Police Department officer went to the Town Center shopping center off Route 273 after a dispatcher requested that he meet an injured man there, court records show.
“The victim . . . was bleeding from his mouth and nose. Also, the victim was complaining of head pain and pain in his side,” according to court records.
Based on statements made by the male victim, he had gone to Veterans Park on Kirk Road in Rising Sun a short time earlier to meet Wells, whom he identified as his former roommate, and Shackelford, whom he described as an acquaintance, police reported.
As the victim was exiting his vehicle, Shackelford and Wells punched and kneed him several times, police said. Concerned for his safety, police added, the victim got back into his vehicle and drove to the shopping center, where he called 911 for help.
While waiting for paramedics to arrive, the officer saw three people walking into the shopping center parking lot, and the victim identified two of them — Shackelford and Wells — as the ones who had assaulted him, according to court records. Wells ran away when he noticed the officer but Shackelford, who was with his girlfriend, made contact with him, court records show.
The officer talked to Shackelford, who admitted that he and Wells “had conspired to lure the victim to the park to assault him over some previous issues,” according to court records, which further indicate that Shackelford confessed to punching and kneeing the victim. Shackelford also told the officer that Wells assaulted the victim, too, court records show.
Wells called the officer’s cell phone a short time later, police reported.
Through his conversation with Wells, the officer learned that Shackelford and Wells had “conspired to rob the victim of money and marijuana,” court records show.
“They agreed to have the victim come to the park, under the belief they wanted to talk with him about past issues. Wells also advised that he punched and kneed the victim numerous times. No items were stolen from the victim, as he fled before this could occur,” according to court records.
An ambulance crew transported the victim from that Rising Sun shopping center to ChristianaCare’s Union Hospital in Elkton, after providing initial medical treatment at the scene, police said. The victim was later transferred to Christiana Hospital in Delaware, where he underwent emergency surgery because he had “internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen,” police added.