Motion for dismissal filed in drug murder case

Left, the accused, Desmond Lamar Sloan; and the victim John Bryce Darling II

Leonardtown, MD - St. Mary’s County Circuit Court Judge David Densford heard arguments Friday, May 4 on a motion filed by attorneys for a Calvert County man facing second-degree murder charges. The charges against the defendant, Desmond Lamar Sloan, 32 of Lusby stem from the drug overdose death of a St. Mary’s County man last June. In August, Sloan was one of eight people indicted on charges of second-degree depraved heart murder and manslaughter. During the May 4 hearing, public defender Luke Woods made a motion before Densford to dismiss the charges against Sloan based on a recent ruling by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in a 2015 Eastern Shore drug overdose death case. In that case a Worcester County man was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of another man who allegedly purchased heroin from the defendant. On April 4 a three-judge panel ruled that prosecutors failed to prove the defendant was “grossly negligent” in selling heroin.

Sloan is scheduled to go on trial early next month. Densford admitted the higher court’s ruling could impact the charges on which Sloan will be tried. “We can’t ignore it,” said Densford, who added, “we need to proceed and not be paralyzed. This is not settled law. It has to be decided correctly.”

Sloan is charged with selling fentanyl to John Bryce Darling II, 34, who died at his home in Lexington Park June 13. Darling, a Patuxent High School graduate who worked as a steamfitter and was a versatile musician, died from a combination of drugs and alcohol, a state medical examiner determined. Sloan was apprehended by federal authorities in Norfolk, VA after the indictment in St. Mary’s County was handed down.

St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard Fritz argued that the case involving Sloan was different from the one the Court of Special Appeals ruled on since the defendant’s actions certainly manifested gross negligence. “An ordinary, prudent person isn’t going to distribute fentanyl on the street,” said Fritz. “If not for the distribution of fentanyl the death would not occur.” Fritz added that the high court’s ruling could possibly by overturned by the Court of Appeals.

Densford said he would rule on the motion to dismiss Friday afternoon, June 1, a few days before Sloan is scheduled to go on trial.

In addition to second-degree murder and manslaughter, Sloan was indicted for controlled dangerous substance (CDS) possession -not marijuana, CDS distribution narcotic and reckless endangerment.

Contact Marty Madden at

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