Jury finds Santana guilty of murder

Miguel Angel Santana

UPDATE - Charles County State's Attorney's Office Press Release

LA PLATA, MD - Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County announced that on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, a Charles County jury, after a 6 day trial, convicted Miguel Angel Santana, 27 of Waldorf, of First Degree Murder of Thomas Tibbs, 4 counts of Attempted Murder, 5 counts of Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Violent Crime, 9 counts of Reckless Endangerment, and three weapons charges.

On March 23, 2016, officers responded to the 2500 block of Gittings Court in Waldorf for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers discovered two victims, Thomas Tibbs and Kemo Key, suffering from gunshot wounds. Both victims were transported to a nearby hospital to receive treatment for their injuries; however, Tibbs succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

An investigation into the shooting revealed that earlier in the day, Santana’s co-defendant, Rashaad Jovonni Brawner, was involved in a verbal altercation with Key at a gas station.  After leaving, Brawner picked up Santana and drove to a neighborhood looking for Key.  When they found Key, Brawner confronted him and a physical confrontation ensued. Brawner attempted to retreat to the driver’s seat of his vehicle; however, several men who were at the residence attempted to pull Brawner out. Santana, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, began shooting at the men while still inside of the vehicle. The men fled. Thomas Tibbs, who was standing nearby but not involved in the fight, was struck with bullets from Santana’s gun in the chest and arm.  Key was also shot, suffering a non-life threatening wound to the buttocks. Brawner and Santana then fled the area in the vehicle.

Witnesses identified Brawner as the driver of the vehicle. Brawner later identified Santana as the shooter.

Santana will be sentenced July 26. At sentencing, Santana faces five life sentences plus 133 years in prison.

On January 17, 2017, Brawner pled guilty to manslaughter for his role in the killing. His sentencing date has been set for June 21.

La Plata, MD - The trial of a Charles County man accused of first-degree murder and over 50 other charges continued March 15 in Circuit Court in La Plata. The defendant, Miguel Angel Santana, 27 of Waldorf; is accused of shooting to death Thomas Elijah-Isiah Tibbs during an incident that occurred in March of 2016. The altercation in which Tibbs was killed and another man was wounded occurred in the 2500 block of Gittings Court in Waldorf.

Court proceedings Thursday, March 15 included a measure of sidebar drama. Presiding Judge Amy Bragunier openly admonished the defendant’s mother, who reportedly approached a juror earlier in the week. ”That was inappropriate,” Bragunier declared, reminding the woman she was to attempt to contact members of the jury or witnesses. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office has stepped up its security in the courtroom where the case is being tried, a development that prompted complaints from lawyers with the Public Defender’s Office, who felt the measures might influence the jury.

The prosecution continued presenting its case against Santana during Thursday morning’s proceedings included. The session included the testimony of a Washington, DC landscaper who found the gun police believe was used in the shooting, a man who was standing near Tibbs (pictured, right) and the other shooting victim when someone opened fire, a Gittings Court resident who was involved in the altercation that preceded the shootings and several Charles County detectives and forensics specialists. Thaddeus Wills, a resident involved in the scuffle with Santana’s codefendant—identified in court documents as Rashaad Jovonni Brawner—testified he saw a front-seat passenger inside the vehicle Brawner drove to the neighborhood holding a gun. Wills said he told the other men confronting the driver to get away from the vehicle since the passenger was armed. Wills testified he then heard several shots.

After his arrest in July 2016, Santana was ordered held on $1 million bond. Brawner was apprehended in March 2016.

In addition to first-degree murder, Santana faces five counts each of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and attempted second-degree murder; 10 counts of reckless endangerment, 21 weapons violations and one count of second-degree murder.

The trial is expected to carry over into early next week.

Contact Marty Madden at

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