Deandre “Fat Roll” Kelly faces new charges in 2011 escape from Maryland jail
Back in January 2011, Deandre Kelly, a fugitive from federal drugs-and-gun charges in Washington, D.C., was arrested when a car chase in Western Maryland ended with a crash. Caught with drugs and a weapon, he allegedly hid another gun in the fatty folds of his capacious belly and then used the weapon to force jailers to let him free from the Garrett County Detention Center. The dramatic escape caused quite a stir, and Kelly, once again a fugitive, managed to evade re-arrest until May that year, when U.S. Marshals surrounded and captured him at an apartment complex in Bedford, Va., west of Lynchburg. Since his capture, Kelly, now 31 years old, has been in the maw of the federal justice system in D.C., where he is scheduled to be sentenced in October on PCP, crack, and firearms charges arising from two separate indictments. D.C prosecutors are seeking a 27-year prison sentence for Kelly, and after his penalties are meted out, according to court documents, "the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office will probably seek a federal indictment for the offenses committed in Maryland" surrounding the alleged escape. Yesterday, Maryland assistant U.S. attorney Andrea Smith, a veteran in the office, took the first step towards indicting Kelly: she filed a criminal complaint, sworn out by Deputy U.S. Marshal David Ablondi, charging Kelly with escape, unlawful possession of a firearm, using a firearm in a crime of violence, and possession with intent to distribute crack. Kelly, according to court records, worked with at least 10 other people to carry out the escape, and the new complaint fills out many details of the alleged circumstances, based on evidence developed from telephone calls made at the detention center to set up the plan, information from confidential sources, and statements made to law enforcement by co-conspirators. One of those giving statements was Chiquita Richardson, who said she rented the black 2004 Chrysler Towne and Country van that was used in the escape, and that "she did drive to Garrett County to pick up Kelly, but claimed she was forced to do so." In May 2011, Richardson, now 29, pleaded guilty in Garrett County Circuit Court to participating in the escape conspiracy, and received a four-year prison sentence. Another was Robert Marshall, of College Park, who had recently moved back from Alabama and was a friend of Kelly's younger brother, Jamal Kelly, who told him Kelly had been arrested and invited Marshall to come along on a trip to "go get Kelly's stuff." They went to Cumberland, where Kelly's girlfriend, Autumn Taylor, lived, and thereafter Marshall found himself ensconced in the fast-moving circumstances surrounding the escape, involving numerous other people. Marshall said some of the crew went to a motel in Garrett County "off the highway" and, after the van pulled in, Kelly got out of it, jumped into Jamal Kelly's grey Infiniti, and they drove back to Jamal Kelly's College Park apartment. Marshall, now 29, pleaded guilty in Garrett County Circuit Court for his part in the crime, receiving a prison sentence of less than one year. The most revealing statements were provided by Richard Hall, who had been arrested with Kelly after the car chase. "Hall advised that Kelly did have a handgun during the escape and described the firearm as a .380 caliber," the complaint states. Hall was "familiar with the firearm" – which was black and silver with a six-round magazine – from "having fired it in the past when hanging around with Kelly in Cumberland." Kelly, Hall explained, had other guns: "two .40 caliber handguns, a .44 caliber handgun, two 9 mm handguns, a Walther .22 caliber handgun, and an ‘AK' with a collapsible stock." Hall said "Kelly was able to smuggle the firearm inside the jail by concealing it in a ‘fat roll' around his stomach," and that "Kelly pulled the firearm out and showed it to Hall. Hall admitted to making calls for Kelly to assist him in the escape out of fear." Kelly, who was injured in the crash that ended the car chase, was taken to a hospital for treatment. According to the complaint, "agents believe that when Kelly was taken to the hospital, he was able to hide the gun in the bag with his clothing and when he returned to the jail, he secreted the gun once again in the ‘fat roll.'" Now 29 years old, Hall was initially charged in Garrett County with numerous crimes arising from the circumstances of Kelly's arrest and escape. In August, 2011, though, Hall's case went to federal court – and about six weeks later, Hall was among 35 people indicted in Maryland U.S. District Court for racketeering due to their participation with a Bloods gang set known as the South Side Brims. That case, too, is being prosecuted by Andrea Smith, and the Baltimore Sun has covered it here and here - and the U.K's Daily Mail even gave it some inches, since Baltimore crime news folds neatly into the Brits' obsession with The Wire. Hall pleaded guilty, receiving an 84-month prison sentence in May 2012, as has nearly every other defendant save two, or possibly three (a 36th defendant was added recently). A trial including lead defendant Andre Roach is scheduled to start on Oct. 21, shortly after Kelly is due to be sentenced in his D.C. cases. Kelly's new complaint in Maryland is partially built on statements from cooperators – but Kelly himself, according to documents in his D.C. cases, initially agreed to cooperate with law enforcers as part of his July 2009 plea agreement there. He was far from a model snitch, though, according to court documents. "Despite his agreement, the defendant utterly failed to cooperate, assistant U.S. attorney Kathleen Connolly wrote in Kelly's sentencing memorandum in the D.C. cases. "With the exception of an initial ride along immediately after the plea hearing, in which [Kelly] provided no useful information" to the detective handling his case, Connolly continued, "the defendant cut off all contact" with his handler and "completely failed to provide law enforcement with any tips, failed to engage in any controlled buys, and failed to do anything else that would resemble ‘substantial assistance.'" "After accepting this plea offer," Connolly wrote, Kelly "was released with the promise to work with law enforcement," but his "promise to do so was clearly made in an attempt only to secure his release from jail. He had no sincere intent to cooperate with law enforcement or to give up criminal conduct." After all the admitted drug-dealing and gun-wielding, Kelly is facing decades in prison for his D.C. crimes. Given the bountiful evidence against him in the Maryland escape case, he'll likely face decades more.