On June 12, 2019, a Worcester County jury found Joseph Baker Sr., age 56, of Berlin, Maryland, guilty of illegal possession of a rifle by a disqualified person, illegal possession of a rifle by a prohibited person, illegal possession of ammunition, and second degree assault in the Worcester County Circuit Court. Baker faces a total of 26 years in prison at sentencing, which was postponed by the Honorable Beau H. Oglesby for a pre-sentence investigation to be conducted.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Libertytown Road in Berlin, Maryland on November 4, 2018. Police were dispatched to that location for a landlord/tenant dispute involving a weapon. Upon arrival, they learned from the victim/tenant that Baker, who was his landlord at the time, had threatened to "blow [the victim’s] head off" while pointing a rifle at him. Troopers located Baker nearby, placed him under arrest and recovered a rifle, a shotgun and ammunition from his home. When troopers conducted a criminal record check, they confirmed that Baker was disqualified and prohibited from possessing any firearms or ammunition.
Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser commended the investigative efforts of the Maryland State Police, specifically Cpl. Orndorff and Tfc. Corron, which led to the successful prosecution of the case. Heiser stated, "We are grateful that no one was injured as a result of this Defendant’s actions and we applaud law enforcement for working to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals in Worcester County."