Case will go to circuit court for trial

EASTON — The man charged with a fatal stabbing at the Easton YMCA will remain held without bond as his case heads to circuit court for trial.

Andre Lamont Price Jefferson, 31, of Easton, is charged with first-degree murder in the homicide of John Joseph Cassidy, 72, of Easton.

Considering the “extreme violent nature of the allegations” against Jefferson and other factors, Talbot County District Court Judge Karen Ketterman ordered Jefferson held without bond pending further proceedings in circuit court.

During Monday afternoon’s bail review, an attorney for Jefferson waived his right to a preliminary hearing in district court, meaning the case will proceed to Talbot County Circuit Court.

“I’m also waiving jury trial too, your honor,” Jefferson said via a video call from the Talbot County Detention Center. “That’s unnecessary.”

“That will be (discussed at) another date,” Ketterman replied.

Deputy State’s Attorney Ellen Grunden argued for Jefferson to remain held without bond pending trial, expressing concern about the safety of the community and noting Jefferson was a potential flight risk.

“This was a brutal, unprovoked, vicious homicide in a place the community gathers,” Grunden said, noting Cassidy was a “random victim.”

She also said Talbot County previously had to extradite Jefferson from South Carolina in another case.

Assistant Public Defender Kisha Petticolas asked the court to set some bond in the case, noting the defense did not “agree with the facts outlined by the state.”

As the bail review ended, Jefferson could be heard saying, “This is a waste of time.”

Jefferson is charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, armed robbery, robbery, reckless endangerment, wearing and carrying a concealed weapon, and attempted theft under $100.

He is accused of killing Cassidy in the men’s locker room at the Easton Family YMCA on Peachblossom Road.

Easton Police officers were called to the YMCA about 7:46 a.m. Thursday, June 6, for a reported assault.

Officers found Cassidy on the floor of the men’s room, bleeding from apparent stab wounds. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Jefferson was on the floor of the lobby, suffering from an apparent medical emergency. He had blood on his clothes and officers recovered a knife with what appeared to be blood on it from his pants pocket, according to charging papers.

Jefferson was taken to the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton for treatment. While there, he made several spontaneous remarks in the presence of officers, saying that he had pulled a knife on the victim.

A witness told police he saw Jefferson, holding a knife, crouched over Cassidy, according to charging papers. Jefferson told the witness it was self defense.

Jefferson was seen with blood on his clothes as he left the locker room and attempted to leave the YMCA, police said in charging papers.

Jefferson is not a member of the YMCA and staff there did not recall seeing him at the facility in the past.

Before the attack at the YMCA, Jefferson had entered Easton Middle School, which is located across Peachblossom Road from the Y, according to school officials.

In a Thursday afternoon email to Easton Middle School parents, Talbot School Superintendent Kelly Griffith said an adult who was known to staff members entered Easton Middle School at the staff entrance before students arrived on campus.

“A teacher on duty at the entrance and a security officer escorted the adult from the building where upon he left the property,” Griffith wrote, according to a screenshot of the email posted on Facebook.

Griffith said Monday that Jefferson was a former Talbot County Public Schools student and was recognized by the security guard and an Easton Middle School teacher who had taught Jefferson at Easton High School.

A Talbot County deputy radioed the dispatch center and an Easton Police officer who was at the church nearby was “briefed” about the school incident, Easton Police Capt. Greg Wright said Monday.

During a Sunday night vigil at the YMCA, hundreds of local residents gathered to remember Cassidy, who was a senior vice president of Perdue Agribusiness and a generous contributor to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, where his wife Doralice was an active volunteer.

Cassidy had planned to become a regular volunteer after retiring this summer, Alex Handy, the society’s president, said.

Doralice Cassidy and the couple’s two children, Lynette and John Daniel Cassidy, attended the vigil.

Staff writers Kayla Rivas and Candice Spector contributed to this story.

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