Antonio Ka-Juan Owens

LA PLATA, Md. —Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County announced that on Thursday, August 30, 2018, Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Antonio Ka-Juan Owens, 22, to life without parole plus 50 years in prison for the First-Degree Murder of Lydell Wood, Unlawful Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Crime of Violence related to the Murder of Lydell Wood, and Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder against Lydell Wood. 

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, a Charles County jury, after a 6-day trial and 1 day of deliberations, convicted Owens to the above listed charges.

On January 6, 2016, officers responded to the 2000 block of Rooks Head Place in Waldorf for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found one victim, Lydell Wood, with a single gunshot wound in his back. The victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.

An investigation into the shooting revealed that an acquaintance of Wood got into a confrontation with co-defendant Miguel Santana earlier that day while Wood and other men were present. The acquaintance brandished a handgun and shot at Santana. Wood had no involvement in the shooting. Santana fled the area unharmed and contacted Owens to help him retaliate.

Santana and Owens canvassed the area in search of the group of men present at the earlier shooting. When Wood was spotted, Santana and Owens confronted him. Wood ran away after both men brandished guns. Santana and Owens gave chase and fired several gunshots, striking Wood in the back as he attempted to find safety and enter a house in the neighborhood. After the shooting, both men fled the area.

Owens was later identified as one of the shooters by witness testimony, as well as other extensive corroborating evidence.        

At sentencing, Assistant State’s Attorney Francis Granados told the judge, “[The victim] was a human being and [had] family and friends – he didn’t deserve to die. He will never get the opportunity to build his life and get on the right path – [that was] taken by the defendant and co-defendant.” Granados, referring to Owens, also said, “He has no remorse, this is a cold-blooded murder of which he doesn’t care one bit – he deserves life without parole – he deserves life for what he did.”

Before giving a life without parole sentence, Judge West stated, “What happened here in broad daylight should have never happened,” also adding that the crime was “inexcusable – [the victim was] gunned down in front of his mother.”