For Immediate Release
Baltimore Man Pleads Guilty to Discharging a Firearm Resulting in Death in a Murder-for-Hire
Defendant Murdered His Victim Who Was Believed to Have Been Cooperating with Law Enforcement
Baltimore, Maryland – Daquante Thomas, a/k/a “Glock,” age 20, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death, in connection with a murder-for-hire conspiracy.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Chief Gregory Der of the Howard County Police Department; and Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson.
According to the plea agreement, on October 4, 2020, Howard County Police responded to a shooting in the area of Basket Ring Road in Columbia. Victim Juan Ross was found shot and killed at the scene, sustaining multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Investigation identified Daquante Thomas as one of the shooters.
As detailed in the plea agreement, a co-conspirator accused Juan Ross, age 23, of Columbia, Maryland, of cooperating with law enforcement, including on a live social media conversation on September 9, 2020, and in text message. Juan Ross was arrested on drug and weapon charges on September 5, 2020, but was released on bail after being interviewed by police.
Thomas admitted that the co-conspirator solicited him and another person to kill Juan Ross and that he accepted payment from the co-conspirator to commit the murder. As detailed in the plea agreement, the defendant used interstate commerce facilities, specifically cellular telephones and a vehicle, in the commission of the murder-for-hire.
According to the plea agreement, on October 4, 2020, after text messaging each other about the address where they could find the victim, Thomas, and two co-conspirators drove to the area of Basket Ring Road in Columbia to locate Juan Ross, then drove to a drug store nearby. A short time later, Thomas and one of the co-conspirators returned to the area of Basket Ring Court, shot and killed Juan Ross and drove away together.
Thomas faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison for use and discharge of a firearm resulting in death. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for October 28, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF, the Howard County Police Department, and the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution and thanked the FBI, the Maryland State Police, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Baltimore Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kim Y. Oldham and Lindsey N. McCulley, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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