New project seeks to snag most dangerous
July 20, 2000
Greg Johnson
Staff Writer




List of county's top 10 suspects returns after six-year hiatus

During the early morning hours of August 7, 1999, a police cruiser pulled onto Ottawa Street in Forest Heights to discover three victims of an apparent carjacking lying unconscious and bleeding on the ground. Each had been beaten, kicked and struck in the head by cinder blocks. Two had suffered brain hemorrhages during the attack.

Fortunately, all three victims pulled through. And evidence was obtained three days later that allegedly implicated three men. Rashid M. Marshall, of Brentwood, was one of these suspects. Investigators, however, were still faced with the challenge of finding Marshall, alias Richard Williams, alias "Dickey."

Their search would last more than six months. Marshall became one of the first men to be posted on the sheriff department's list of the top 10 most wanted suspects. He also became one of the first suspects on this new list to be caught. Charges against Marshall were filed in April, according to court documents, and he has been held without bail since the arrest.

Sgt. Bill Ament, spokesman for the Prince George's County Office of the Sheriff, said he is not sure whether or not Marshall's arrest was related to his inclusion in the sheriff's list. But he hopes that the recent project attracts more public attention to help apprehend people whom, according to the sheriff's office, are the most dangerous men in the county.

"We are looking for ways the community can take an active role in getting these people off the streets," Ament said. "Because we believe the residents really do want to help keep their community safe."

The sheriff department's top 10 list was revived in the spring after an approximately six-year hiatus. Posters of the suspects have been plastered at the sheriff's office and at participating apartment and office buildings. The photos were also posted online two weeks ago. The list can be accessed at www.pgsheriff.ITGO.com.

Sheriff Alonzo D. Black II decided to initiate the program last year based on the success of a similar project that was discontinued in the mid-1990s. One of the sheriff's top 10 suspects was profiled on a local television station each month, and some arrests were taped for subsequent broadcast. Averages of 60 percent of the suspects were apprehended because of the project.

"This has worked very well for us in the past," said Sgt. Joe Aiello, who is responsible for generating the current list.

Aiello was assigned the task of combing through about 200 wanted suspects to determine the most suitable candidates for the top 10 list.

The sergeant considered the seriousness of the alleged crime, the potential threat the suspect poses to the community and the value of community participation in the apprehension process.

Some of the cases are several years old. Aiello said the department turns to the public for assistance after most the resources available to law enforcement officers have been depleted.

"We have exhausted our leads but we have reason to believe they are still in the metro Washington area," Aiello said.

The risks these suspects pose to the area are also assessed. One suspect, Phillip Venrick Allen, is wanted for attempted murder. Police said Allen was on parole for a 1980 murder conviction when he was involved in another violent incident that investigators believe was domestically related. Allen is described as an African American, 36 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds.

Another man wanted on charges related to domestic violence is Jesse Lee Wiggins. Wiggins is wanted for stalking and domestic assault. He is an African American, 41 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds. Police believe Wiggins may be living in the District.

Aiello said allegations of domestic violence are taken very seriously because such cases sometimes lead to even more dangerous behavior.

"They are always high profile because they could lead to more serious charges," Aiello said.

The potential threat of additional violations is also a factor in the inclusion of Santiago Alfaro Sanchez. Sanchez, 54, is wanted on charges of sexual child abuse. Police said Sanchez abused a child in the Langley Park area in May 1998.

He is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds. Investigators said there is no reason to suspect that Sanchez has left the area.

"That is a no-brainer right there," Aiello said. "Sexual child abuse [charges] will make your top 10 list every time."

There is no provision for reward money offered for tips that lead to arrests, but all calls are kept confidential. Anyone who has information about suspects listed on the top 10 list is asked to call 301-952-4000. Police said all suspects should be considered armed and dangerous.