Waldorf Man Sentenced to Life for Vicious First-Degree Murder of Father-in-Law

State v. Deangelo Hemsley, K16-497

Deangelo Hemsley, then 39, of Waldorf, Md. (2016 Booking photo) Deangelo Hemsley, then 39, of Waldorf, Md. (2016 Booking photo)

LA PLATA, Md. (Sept. 05, 2019)—Tony Covington, State's Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Thursday, September 5, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier sentenced Deangelo Hemsley, 42 of Waldorf, to life in prison for the First-Degree Murder of John Yates and related charges.

On June 14, 2019, Hemsley was found criminally responsible by a Charles County jury, after a two-part, bifurcated trial, to the charges of First-Degree Murder, Home Invasion, First-Degree Assault, Second-Degree Assault, Kidnapping, and False Imprisonment. Hemsley was previously found guilty of committing the aforementioned charges during the first part of the trial.

On April 23, 2016, officers responded to the 12800 block of Yates Place in La Plata for the report of a person with a weapon. When officers arrived, they located victim John Yates suffering from several stab wounds to his upper body. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. Officers also found Hemsley, Yates' son-in-law, attempting to escape the area; however, he was apprehended that night.

An investigation revealed that during the evening hours of April 23rd, Hemsley made entry into Yates' residence yielding a knife and bar. Yates' family was present at the time and did not expect Hemsley's arrival. After entrance, Hemsley demanded to know where his daughter, who was inside of the residence, was located. Hemsley then asked for the location of Yates, who was in a lower level. Within seconds of receiving Yates' location from a family member, Hemsley went to Yates and immediately began attacking him with the knife, stabbing him multiple times and causing deep lacerations in the face and neck area. Hemsley's then 12 year-old-daughter and a 15-year-old juvenile were present during parts of the attack.

After stabbing Yates, Hemsley grabbed his daughter's hand and put her in his vehicle. Thankfully, she was able to escape through a window and run to safety back inside of the residence, barricading herself in a room with a dresser.

A DNA analysis conducted on the knife used in the assault revealed that it contained both Hemsley's and Yates' DNA. Hemsley also had Yates' blood on his clothing while being apprehended.

During sentencing, Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Freeman told the Court that Hemsley "decided to take a man's life in the most heinous, vicious nature that I've seen in my 16 years [as a prosecutor]." She furthered, "the defendant acted out of anger and violence that day towards the victim because he believed the victim was the reason he could not see his daughter. It is the State's recommendation to sentence the defendant for his actions. In this case, the jury has spoken that [the defendant's] diagnosis of schizophrenia did not play a factor in the murder of Mr. Yates, and the State is asking the Court to sentence the defendant to life."

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