Guilty Plea: Assault, Property Destruction

Guilty Plea: Assault, Property Destruction

After being indicted by the grand jury in July for biting a police officer and vandalizing a Centreville woman's car, Howard Baker planned to enter a plea in court in September.

He then changed his mind and decided to have a jury trial. But when the time came, last Monday, Nov. 29, he switched gears again and pleaded guilty as charged. Now he's scheduled for sentencing in March.

The incidents occurred Feb. 29 and, initially, Fairfax County police charged Baker, 37, of 15955 Crowfoot Court in Brandywine, Md.,

with six offenses. A 31-year-old Centreville woman called police, around 9 p.m. that evening, and reported that an acquaintance was vandalizing her vehicle.

An officer from the Sully District Police Station responded to the home, in the 14000 block of Flower Hill Drive, in Sully Station, and spotted a suspect near the woman's car. As the officer approached, the man ran away.

The officer pursued him and, according to police, the man kept reaching into his waistband while fleeing. The officer eventually caught up with the man — later identified as Baker — but he struggled with the officer and, said police, "bit him several times."

However, with the help of nearby residents, police were able to apprehend Baker and take him into custody. A search of his person revealed a 9-mm handgun and a large knife in his waistband. They then charged him with two counts of possession of a concealed weapon, plus destruction of property, assault on a police officer, possession of burglary tools and stalking.

In General District Court in July, the burglary tools, concealed weapons and one of the property-destruction charges were dropped. In November, the stalking charge was dropped, too. But the charges of destruction of property and assaulting a police officer were sent to the grand jury — which then indicted Baker on July 19.

He pleaded guilty, Nov. 29, in Circuit Court before Judge Marcus Williams and is due to be sentenced on March 11. Assaulting a police officer carries a possible maximum penalty of five years in prison.