Nearly three years ago, in April of 2006, Jennifer Morelock and Jason Woycio, a white couple from Carroll County, made the unfortunate and ultimately fatal mistake of venturing into West Baltimore. They were in a car on Arunah Avenue when somebody shot both of them to death.
Later that same day, a Western District police officer, acting “on a tip,” according to police reports, (translation: somebody snitched) stopped Temple in the neighborhood. According to those same police reports, the officer asked Temple if he could search the contents of his cell phone for the numbers of suspected gang members. Police said Temple consented.
In that cell phone was a text message – in the outbox, unfortunately for Temple – that read “I killed 2 white people around my way 2day and 1 of them was a woman.”
It looked like game, set, match for the cops and prosecutors, but then those annoying things like the exclusionary rule and the Fourth Amendment got in the way. Prosecutors said that the arresting officer who searched Temple’s cell phone needed a search warrant, because the text messages weren’t in plain view.
So in June of 2006 the case was nolle prosequi and Temple walked free of first-degree
And yes, I did mention that the race of the victims and the suspect is a factor. Temple is a young black man, only 17 when he was charged with murder. The reaction of city leaders, the local media and the entire nation would have been radically different if a black couple had been gunned down and a 17-year-old white kid got cut loose after being found with the very incriminating text message in his cell phone that read “I killed 2 black people around my way 2day and 1 of them was a woman.”
This city would still be neck deep in protesters...