Reduction in Ro case part of sealed plea agreement
Nearly seven years after she admitted that she plotted to have her boss killed in his Glen Burnie office to cover up thefts from his dental practice, Shontay Joyner Hickman had her life sentence reduced Thursday to 40 years in prison for testifying against her cousin.
The reduction, in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, was part of a sealed plea agreement in which Hickman, 38, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty last year to first-degree murder in the slaying of Dr. Albert Woonho Ro, who hailed from a family well-known in the area’s Korean-American community.
Hickman said she brought Jeter and two men she did not know to Ro’s office. Police said they found Jeter’s DNA on a toothbrush box there. No one else has been charged.
An assistant in Dr. Ro’s office, Hickman admitted she siphoned more than $17,000 from his practice.
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—A well-liked Anne Arundel County dentist was murdered in his own office. His assistant admits hiring a hitman to commit the crime. Now that man is on trial.
That assistant who hired the hitman is now the state’s star witness. She’s expected to testify against the hitman, who is also a member of her family.
In 2006, Dr. Albert Ro was bludgeoned to death. Police found the popular Glen Burnie dentist inside his office, stabbed 39 times and beaten beyond recognition.
“Shock. I think we were having a nightmare. This is unbelievable. The family is traumatized,” said Ro’s loved one.
A grand jury indictment says Ro was killed at the hands of 25-year-old Dante Jeter, whose trial is underway.
Jurors are expected to hear testimony against him from his own cousin, 37-year-old Shontay Hickman.
Three months ago, the state’s star witness pleaded guilty to murder in the case. Hickman, Ro’s former receptionist, says she paid Jeter $1,000 to kill her boss. The motive was cash.
Hickman confessed to embezzling $17,000 from Ro. Worried about getting caught, she ordered a hit.
On Tuesday a bank fraud investigator poured through records, showing Hickman withdrew money right after the beating to pay Jeter. Hickman agreed to take the witness stand in exchange for a shorter sentence, 40 years in jail.
Hickman is expected to testify first thing Wednesday morning.
Police believe there were two others involved in the attack. If Hickman reveals more information about who they are, her sentence could be reduced even more, to 30 years.
This case sat cold for four years until police found a fingerprint at the scene, linking them to Jeter.
Appeals court affirms conviction for 2006 murder of Glen Burnie dentist
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has affirmed the conviction of a Baltimore man serving two life sentences for the murder of a Glen Burnie dentist in 2006.
Dante Jeter, 27, asked the state’s second highest court to look at the admissibility of expert fingerprint analysis testimony, jury instructions and autopsy photographs that were admitted during his trial in Anne Arundel Circuit Court.
But the Court of Special Appeals wrote in its opinion that the trial court did not err, and affirmed Jeter’s conviction.
A county jury in 2012 convicted Jeter of first-degree felony murder, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, second-degree burglary, robbery, and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder for the death of Dr. Albert Ro in his Crain Highway offices on Sept. 26, 2006.
Ro was beaten to death, but investigators didn’t immediately charge Jeter or Hickman with his murder.
In July 2008, a detective who was new to the case spoke to Ro’s wife, who said she remembered her husband mentioning something about missing insurance checks.
Police used cell phone records and a latent fingerprint found in the office to tie Hickman and Jeter to Ro’s murder.
Jeter was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison, the first without the possibility of parole, plus two consecutive fifteen-year terms for the burglary and robbery convictions.
Hickman testified against Jeter in exchange for a lighter sentence. She ultimately pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with all but 40 years suspended.