Armed coach who confronted repo men sentenced

La P

LA PLATA, MD - Dwayne Calvin Leigh from all accounts is a pretty nice guy.

The 37-year-old Bryans Road resident coaches youth football, attends church regularly and has never been in trouble. But when two repo men came to repossess his wife’s car Oct. 16, 2014 at 1 a.m. in the morning, he went out to confront the two men, thinking they were thieves.

Leigh got beat up by one of the men in the process.

When a gun came into the picture, he ended up facing charges of first- and second-degree assault and a felony charge of using a firearm during a violent crime and before Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West for sentencing Monday, June 29.

Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Constance Kopelman told the judge that Leigh confronted the two men who were in the act of putting chains on the tires of the car.

“The defendant told the men, ‘you’re not taking my car,’ ” Kopelman stated. “His wife brought him the gun. When the police came, there was a bullet in the chamber and 10 rounds in the weapon. It was a loaded weapon he pointed at two men because they were doing their job.”

“I don’t agree with the facts,” Defense Attorney Louis Fireison told the court. “My client never got a notice about the repossession. No notice was sent. They didn’t know anything about it. He thought they were stealing the car. His wife came out with the gun because they thought the men were stealing the car.”

Fireison said one of the repo men was punching and kicking the defendant when he approached them.

“He was also charged with assault,” he said.

The lawyer asked for probation before judgement for his client.

Kopelman said people who don’t make their car payments usually get their car repossessed. Leigh’s wife told the judge that she had made payments, but found out later it was an unpaid late fee that apparently caused their car to be set for repossession.

Jerome Butler and Yolanda Brown testified as to Leigh’s character, calling him a great friend, dad and coach of youth football.

“It’s a sad case,” Brown said. “It’s not true to his character.”

West asked if anyone called the police and was told no.

“One of the responses in a situation like this is that someone should be asked to call the police,” the judge said. “I believe the gun changes things,” he said.

West sentenced Leigh to 10 years but suspended all but 30 days to be followed by three years of unsupervised probation.

He gave the defendant the option of doing 30 days straight time in the Charles County Detention Center or 15 weekends. After vacillating back and forth, Leigh opted for the straight time.

“Football starts the end of July and I want to be there for the kids,” he said.

He was allowed to report to jail July 3.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet,com

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