DERRICK L. CARROLL
STATE OF MARYLAND
Circuit Court for Cecil County Case No. K-15-470
C.J., Berger, Kenney, James A., III (Senior Judge, Specially
and Mary Ann Loomis were murdered during a home invasion in
Port Deposit, Maryland in February 2015. A jury in the
Circuit Court for Cecil County convicted appellant Derrick L.
Carroll of two counts of first-degree murder in addition to
multiple conspiracy counts in regard to that event.
appeal, appellant presents two questions for our review:
1. Did the trial court err in denying appellant's motion
to suppress evidence?
2. Did the trial court plainly err in permitting the
prosecutor to argue that appellant's motive was racial
reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the circuit
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
to February 22, 2015
Loomises were the grandparents of appellant's ex-wife,
Kimber Carroll, who considered them her parents. It appears
that appellant's relationship with the Loomises may have
been initially cordial, but had deteriorated over time.
According to Ms. Carroll's testimony, when she and
appellant were dating in 2012 and she was living with the
Loomises, she would sometimes sneak appellant into their
house where he stayed without her grandparents' knowing.
She explained that he was not "allowed to stay
there" because of how the Loomises "felt about
him," and that he had expressed to her that the Loomises
disliked him. After Ms. Carroll and appellant married and
moved into an apartment, the Loomises changed the locks to
their home, and their relationship with her deteriorated as a
result of her drug addiction. Appellant also used drugs and
Carroll's aunt testified that the week before the murder,
Mrs. Loomis told her that she didn't like appellant and
that she wanted her niece to "straighten out" and
"stay away" from him. Appellant testified that he
had had a good relationship with Mrs. Loomis, who was not
opposed to him staying at the house, but he acknowledged that
Mr. Loomis had expressed concerns about Ms. Carroll and
appellant being together.
Ms. Carroll and appellant testified about an incident that
happened in 2013, when, at the time, she and appellant had
split up, and she was living with the Loomises. According to
Ms. Carroll, she was due in court that day, and appellant
stopped by their house to take her there. Mr. Loomis
indicated that he would be the one to take her to court.
Appellant and Mr. Loomis argued, and appellant attempted to
get into the house. The confrontation ended in about ten
testified that the incident related to a custody hearing for
their daughter, who was in foster care at the time. Appellant
and his then fiancée, Lauren Bucaro, would be awarded
custody, but only if Ms. Carroll consented. Appellant
testified that, when he went to the Loomises' house to
pick her up for the hearing, Mr. Loomis said that he would
take her to court. Appellant and Mr. Loomis argued, but
appellant did not attempt to enter the house and left after
Mr. Loomis asked him to. He felt no ill will towards the
Loomises because they helped support his daughter and he was
grateful for that.
mother, who had also helped care for appellant's
daughter, testified that she maintained a good relationship
with the Loomises. And, in a statement to police,
appellant's girlfriend at the time, Kayla Way-Nunley,
stated that appellant never spoke ill about Ms. Carroll's
22 and 23, 2015
trial, witnesses gave conflicting accounts as to what took
place on the night of February 22, 2015 and the following
day. There is no dispute, however, that on the night of
February 22, there was a gathering, referred to by witnesses
as a "tattoo party," at Ellen Lough's trailer
in Port Deposit with at least seven individuals present. They
included appellant, Ellen Lough, London Anderson, Azu
Azuewah, Ashley Browe, Kayla Way-Nunley, and a person known
Anderson testified that he was
friends with Azuewah, that Lough was Azuewah's long-term
girlfriend, and that he spent a lot of time in their trailer.
During the party, appellant got tattooed on his hands by
Hummer. According to Anderson, on the morning of February 23,
appellant entered the trailer with "a couple of cases of
guns, ammunition," and a blue or green Chevy S-10 truck
was parked outside. Anderson helped appellant bring the guns
inside. When Anderson asked appellant where he obtained the
guns, appellant said that he had "robbed . . . his
daughter's grandparents, "and had "duct-taped
their faces until they couldn't breathe."
testified that appellant, Lough, Azuewah, and Hummer
discussed dumping the S-10 near White Marsh. They left the
trailer to do so with appellant taking a taxi and the others
riding in the S-10 or Lough's car. After returning to the
trailer, Anderson slept; when he woke up, the guns were gone.
Anderson denied any involvement in the burglary or murders,
or that he had gone to the Loomises' house. He did not
contact the police because he was scared.
testified that she was staying at Lough's trailer in
February 2015. On the night of February 22, appellant was
present at the tattoo party, along with Anderson and Azuewah,
and got hand tattoos. Between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m. on February
23, Browe awoke to the sounds of appellant entering the
trailer, bringing in "bags of guns" and saying
"[y]ou guys left me."
who was, at the time, appellant's girlfriend, testified
that she and appellant attended the tattoo party on the night
of February 22, along with Anderson and Browe. When she woke
up the next morning at 8:00 a.m., appellant was present and
Anderson was gone. She saw a blue truck outside the trailer,
which she and appellant drove to White Marsh. Lough and
Azuewah followed in their car. According to Way-Nunley, she
did not see any guns, jewelry, or documents.
gave police two statements which were played for the jury. In
the first statement on February 26, 2015, she told police
that she was with appellant throughout the night of February
22, and that they never left the trailer. However, Azuewah
and Lough left and returned to the trailer repeatedly.
Way-Nunley added that she can be a heavy sleeper and that
appellant may have left without her knowing. If he "did
anything" while she was asleep, "that's on
him." She denied knowing anything about a crime.
second statement on March 17, 2015, Way-Nunley stated that,
when she fell asleep on February 22, appellant was next to
her watching television. She slept in a back room of the
trailer, and when she woke up the next morning, she did not
see any guns. But, she did overhear Lough arguing with
Azuewah and asking, "why is this shit in here[?]"
Appellant and Azuewah locked themselves in a bathroom and
talked. At some point, Way-Nunley saw a greenish pickup truck
parked outside, with Azeuwah in the driver's seat and
appellant in the passenger seat. She was only "50
percent" sure about who drove, but the two of them
dropped the truck off in a parking lot near Baltimore. She
struggled to remember details because she was "pretty
high that day."
Garland lived in the trailer adjacent to Lough's. She
testified that at about 8:30 a.m. on February 23, she saw a
man whom she didn't know getting "black garbage bags
out of the back of a blue pickup truck" that was
"consistent with" Mr. Loomis's S-10. He was
"hollering back and forth" with a woman whom
Garland did not recognize. He and the woman took the bags
into Lough's trailer. About an hour later, when Garland
went outside to sit on her porch, the same man walked past
her and they said "hi" to each other. When police
asked Garland to identify the man shortly after the incident,
she was unable to do so. But later, she was able to identify
appellant based on an internet search of the Loomis murders,
where his name and photograph appeared in a newspaper story.
She did not, however, call the police to tell them. At trial,
she identified appellant as the man that she saw.
testified that he and Way-Nunley came to the tattoo party and
that he got his hands tattooed at approximately 9:00 p.m.
Because his hands were sore and tender, he used heroin and
drank a large amount of alcohol to numb the pain. He fell
asleep in the trailer. When he awoke the next morning,
Way-Nunley was with him. Anderson and Browe were not there,
but eventually they returned to the trailer. Lough and
Azuewah left that morning.
to appellant, he did not leave the trailer on February 23. He
repeatedly tried to call Azuewah, but Azuewah did not pick
up. On February 24, when Azuewah and Lough had still not
returned, he left in a cab. He did see and greet Garland, but
on the morning of February 24, not the 23rd. He never brought
guns into Lough's trailer or unloaded anything from a
truck, and he denied ever seeing guns or the S-10 truck.
Investigation, Arrest, and Search
and family members testified that they had last spoken with
Mr. and Mrs. Loomis on February 22, 2015. They were unable to
reach them on February 23, and Mr. Loomis's blue S-10
truck was missing from the Loomises' driveway. When Ms.
Carroll and her aunt went to the house to check on them on
February 25, they found Mr. and Mrs. Loomis's bodies in
an upstairs room with their hands and faces wrapped in duct
tape. Both had died of asphyxia from being wrapped in tape.
There were bleach stains on and around their bodies, which
had sustained chemical burns. It was unclear whether the
burns were sustained before or after they had died.
the S-10 was missing, Mr. Loomis's Ford Escape and Mrs.
Loomis's Honda CRV were still in the driveway. The Escape
had been "rummaged" through, and papers were spread
throughout the vehicle. Ms. Carroll's aunt believed that
there was a "good possibility" that Mr. Loomis kept
important papers in the Escape.
house had also been ransacked. Fire extinguisher fluid,
bleach, and cleaning products had been sprayed throughout the
house, which prevented the police from collecting forensic
evidence. Mr. Loomis was a gun collector, and Mrs. Loomis
collected jewelry; both the gun safe and jewelry boxes had
been emptied. Mrs. Loomis's home office had not been
"disturbed," but papers were strewn about Mr.
Loomis's home office, and an "extreme amount"
of fire extinguisher fluid had been sprayed throughout the
room. Mr. Loomis's will was found in his home office.
Carroll was not a beneficiary under the will. She testified
that the Loomises told her they were leaving their money to
her aunt, who would "take care of"
While Ms. Carroll denied ever saying that she expected to
inherit from the Loomises, appellant testified that Ms.
Carroll had told him that she expected to inherit a large sum
of money from them. Lauren Bucaro testified that Ms. Carroll
had told her that "her grandparents weren't giving
her money anymore," but "if anything would ever
happen to them that she would be very well off."
mother, who had maintained a relationship with Ms. Carroll,
testified that Ms. Carroll called her on February 25 and said
that she was going to check on the Loomises. She called again
shortly thereafter and said they were dead. According to
appellant's mother, Ms. Carroll expressed "[n]o
feelings, no crying, nothing." Shortly after the
funeral, Ms. Carroll called her again and asked how she could
find out if Mr. and Mrs. Loomis had another will. Ms. Carroll
denied having spoken to appellant's mother.
Loomis's S-10 was found in a parking lot in Perryville on
February 26. Detectives traced the Loomises' bank records
and obtained video of Lough using their bank card after they
had been killed. Documents that belonged to Mr. Loomis and a
ski mask were later found inside Lough and Azuewah's
developed appellant as a suspect in the robbery and homicide
of the Loomises, law enforcement, on February 26, 2015,
learned that he had gone to Trenton, New Jersey and was in
the area of 27-29 Bryn Mawr Avenue. And, because there was an
outstanding arrest warrant for appellant for an earlier
robbery in Elkton on February 9, members of the U.S.
Marshal's Office Fugitive Task Force ("U.S.
Marshals") began surveillance of the Bryn Mawr Avenue
residence. They observed appellant exit this residence,
carrying a white trash bag, and walk down the sidewalk and
out of view between 57 and 59 Bryn Mawr Avenue. When he
reemerged without the white bag, the U.S. Marshals took him
into custody. They then proceeded to the side of 59 Bryn Mawr
Avenue, where they observed three black garbage bags, one of
which was open with a white bag on top.
same day, a police officer from the Mercer County Homicide
Taskforce, after conversing with Cecil County police
officers, prepared an affidavit in support of a search
warrant to search the residence at 27 Bryn Mawr Avenue where
appellant had been staying and the black garbage bag with the
white bag on top.
affiant, Sergeant Paul Toth of the Mercer County Homicide
Taskforce, stated, in pertinent part:
I have probable cause to believe and do believe that evidence
relating to the death of Earl Loomis and Mary Ann Loomis may
be present within a certain residence and a black garbage
* * *
The facts tending to establish the grounds for the
application and probable cause for my belief that such
grounds exist are as follows:
a. An investigation involving the Cecil County Sheriff's
Office and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force is being
conducted into the death of Earl Loomis and Mary Ann Loomis
that occurred in Elkton, Maryland on February 25, 2015. On
Wednesday, February 25 2015, the Cecil County Sheriff's
Office in Maryland responded to the address of 106 West
Parkway in Elkton, Maryland after receiving a call for
service in reference to suspicious circumstances.
b. Cecil County Sheriff's Office arrived at 106 West
Parkway and located the bodies of two deceased persons in an
upstairs bathroom area. The two bodies appeared to have been
bound by duct tape at the hands and feet with tape also
wrapped around the faces of each person. The two bodies were
identified at [sic] Earl Loomis and Mary Ann Loomis.
c. Derrick Carroll, date of birth June 18, 1989 had an arrest
warrant issued for Robbery (Home Invasion) that occurred in
Elkton, Maryland on February 9, 2015. Derrick Carroll was
identified as a suspect in the Robbery Home Invasion that
occurred in Elkton, Maryland on February 9, 2015. Derrick
Carroll is also a suspect in the homicide of Earl Loomis and
Mary Ann Loomis.
d. On Thursday, February 26, 2015, members of the United
States Marshal's Office Fugitive Taskforce received
information that Derrick Carroll may be at a residence in the
area of 27-29 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey. [U.S.
Marshals] began surveillance of the Bryn Mawr Avenue homes.
[U.S. Marshals] observed Derrick Carroll exit the residence
at 27 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey. They further
observed Derrick Carroll was carrying a white trash bag. They
observed Carroll walk down the sidewalk on Bryn Mawr Avenue
towards Volk Street, Trenton, New Jersey.
e. Investigator Dean Wylie from the [U.S. Marshals']
Taskforce observed Derrick Carroll walk between 57 and 59
Bryn Mawr Avenue while carrying the white trash bag.
Approximately fifteen seconds later, Derrick Carroll was
observed exiting back out from between 57 and 59 Bryn Mawr
Avenue without the white trash bag in hand. [U.S. Marshals]
then took Derrick Carroll into custody.
f. Once Derrick Carroll was in custody, Investigator Dean
Wylie proceeded to the side of 59 Bryn Mawr Avenue where he
observed 3 black colored garbage bags on the side of 59 Bryn
Mawr. Investigator Wylie noticed one ...