Shawn Marshall Myers sentenced: Maryland man jailed one year for throwing large parties during COVID in defiance of social distancing gathering orders.
After a trial without a jury, state District Court Judge W. Louis Hennessy on Friday, convicted Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, of Hughesville of two counts of Failure to Comply with an Emergency Order according to a statement from the Charles County State’s Attorney Office.
Myers of Charles County will serve his prison sentence at the Charles County Detention Center and, upon his release, will be on unsupervised probation for three years the Baltimore Sun reports. Myers will also have to pay a $5,000 fine.
He was initially charged after deputies responded to his home on two separate occasions in March.
On March 22, multiple officers were dispatched to Myers’ home due to reports of a large party that violated Gov. Larry Hogan‘s previous State of Emergency and Large Gathering Order.
Myers was initially argumentative but agreed to disband gathering
Authorities at the time found around 50 people at Myers’ residence. Officers said Myers was initially argumentative, but eventually agreed to disband the party.
Hogan’s Large Gathering Order prohibited large groups of more than 50 people gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At that time, stay-at-home orders had just begun for many states following the arrival of COVID-19 in January and the subsequent infections.
‘A person who knowingly and willfully violates this Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both,’ the order stated.
Just five days later, officers were forced to return to Myers’ home after he hosted another party that exceeded 50 people along with a bonfire. Myers at the time disregarded orders to disband the gathering.
‘Officers told Myers to disband the party, but again he was argumentative claiming he and his guests had the right to congregate,’ the statement read.
‘Beyond being argumentative, Myers directed his guests to stay in defiance of Governor Hogan’s Orders and the officers’ lawful orders to disband the party.’
Maryland man during second party less than 5 days later refuses to disband
Authorities said Myers was taken into custody after refusing to cooperate.
Hogan addressed Myers’ arrest on Twitter and condemned the man for ignoring social distancing protocols that month.
He wrote: ‘A Charles County man has been arrested after repeatedly violating the executive order banning large gatherings and hosting a bonfire party with 60 guests.
‘I cannot begin to express my disgust towards such irresponsible, reckless behavior.
‘Let me repeat: if you are engaged in this kind of activity, you are breaking the law, and you are endangering the lives of your fellow Marylanders.
‘State and local authorities will continue to take aggressive enforcement action as we work to prevent the spread of #Covid19.’
At the time of the parties, just 10 Marylanders had died of coronavirus and more than 1,200 had been infected by the disease.
Of note, Fox News reports Myers having a lengthy criminal history including an Alford Plea for First Degree Murder in 2004, theft, firearm charges, and assaults. Myers is also a Tier III Sex Offender.
In September 2012, Myers was sentenced to five years probation after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit a robbery related to a 2004 Thanksgiving Day murder.
As of Sunday, 3,935 Marylanders have died and more than 123,403 people have been infected.
Earlier this month, a number of local counties were approved for Phase 3 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery.
This allowed some residents to attend movie theaters, view concerts outdoors and reopened larger religious services for in-person operations.
The United States has recorded more than seven million cases and 209,000 deaths.