Man stabbed, killed during altercation

Friday, Sept. 28, 2007

A Thursday morning bond hearing was postponed at the request of a defense attorney in the case of a 21-year-old accused of stabbing and killing a 20-year-old man.

Attorney Larry Lamson requested Calvert County District Court Judge Robert Riddle postpone the bond review for Christopher Doran Whisman, 21, of Broomes Island to give Lamson more time to review the case.

‘‘I’m not in a position [to argue bond],” Lamson said in court on Sept. 27. ‘‘I just learned of the case.”

On Sept. 25 at 9:28 p.m., members of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and the Calvert Investigative Team responded to Ball Road for a reported stabbing and found Rodney Berry Gray Jr., 20, of St. Leonard on the ground with a stab wound to his chest.

Maryland State Police Trooper 7 flew Gray to the Prince George’s Shock Trauma Center in Cheverly where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses at the scene told investigators that a green 1998 Ford Explorer carrying five people fled the scene in an unknown direction.

During a patrol of the area for the SUV, police saw three people matching the description from witnesses coming out of a wooded area near the intersection of Broomes Island Road and Hance Road. The people got into a car that was waiting for them, according to a press release from the CIT. Deputies in the area pulled the car over and Johnathon Adam Elliott, 19, Michael Credeur, 21, and Christopher Doran Whisman, 21, were taken to the sheriff’s office for questioning. Bret Alan Menoche, 21, allegedly fled the scene in an unknown direction and Shane Bladen, 19, was taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital for an injury to his hand.

According to the charging documents, Elliott, Whisman and Credeur told investigators that they were going over to the house on Ball Road to settle an argument with Gray over property theft when a fight started with several of the men.

‘‘Gray reached into the rear left door of the Ford Explorer where Whisman was seated,” charging documents said. ‘‘Whisman placed Gray in a headlock.”

Whisman allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Gray in the chest. Witnesses said that Whisman had a silver foldout knife.

Charging documents said that Gray pulled away from the SUV and the others left in the SUV.

The victim, Gray, was a black man and his assailant was white but police do not suspect race played a role in the crime.

‘‘There’s nothing in our investigation to support that this was racially motivated,” said Det. Sgt. Michael Moore with the CIT.

According to charging documents, the fight between the two men began because of the alleged theft.

Menoche later went to the sheriff’s office and allegedly agreed to talk to police. Menoche confirmed that the other four were passengers in his SUV when the crime occurred. Bladen also agreed to talk to police and provided police with a statement ‘‘consistent with those already obtained from other witnesses,” charging documents said.

According to Moore, the investigation is still ongoing.

The four witnesses returned to their homes after being questioned by police. Whisman was arrested and taken to the county jail to wait for a bond review.

He was charged with second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and carrying a dangerous weapon.

According to court records, Whisman has had several other charges in both the Calvert County District and Circuit Courts. He pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in April 2006 and second-degree assault in August last year. He served one year and six months of the seven years he was sentenced to for the burglary charge and was serving five years probation for the assault conviction. He was sentenced to two years, both suspended for the assault plea.

On Thursday, Riddle agreed to postpone the bond hearing. Lamson also requested a preliminary hearing be scheduled. Lamson said that he is representing Whisman for purposes of the bond hearing and might not be representing him for the rest of the case.

Whisman also has a trial scheduled for Oct. 19 in district court for charges including disorderly conduct and second-degree assault, unrelated to the recent charges. He is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on the current charges on Oct. 18 in district court.

E-mail Heather Dykstra at