A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge sentenced a man to life in prison Friday for murdering two men following a drug robbery in White Oak more than three years ago, the State’s Attorney’s Office announced.
Andy Panton, 23, of Boyds, was one of three men charged with killing 23-year-old Jordan Radway of Laurel and 24-year-old Christian Roberts of Silver Spring in January 2019.
The other two men charged in the killing were Dontaye Hunt and Noah Barnett, both 21 and from Silver Spring.
Hunt was convicted of first-degree murder in September, WTOP reported last year. Court records records indicate he will be sentenced later this month. Barnett pleaded guilty to being an accomplice in the killing and to robbery charges, and was sentenced to 42 years in prison.
Montgomery County police received a call about a vehicle crash in the 11600 block of Stewart Lane on Jan. 28, 2019, and found a 1994 Honda Accord that had crashed into multiple parked vehicles, according to authorities. Radway and Roberts were found dead inside the car, and a medical examiner determined both had been shot twice with the same gun, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. It is not clear who the car belonged to.
During the investigation, police determined that Radway had communicated with Barnett about trying to set up a marijuana sale totaling $600 between Radway and Hunt, according to authorities. Hunt and Radway planned to meet on Castle Boulevard in Fairland between 6 and 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 28, 2019.
Radway later wrote in a text message to Roberts that Hunt didn’t have the money for the marijuana, suggesting the drug deal didn’t happen. Radway and Hunt planned to meet on Stewart Lane in White Oak later that night, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Around 8:30 p.m., neighbors reported hearing gunshots, according to police.
Hunt was arrested on a warrant in connection with the deaths of Radway and Roberts, and authorities said Hunt told investigators that he set up the drug deal with Radway. Police said Hunt told them that he and an accomplice were armed and were sitting in the back of the Honda when the accomplice, who Hunt didn’t name, shot the two victims, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Police later identified Panton as the accomplice after watching surveillance footage from a Metrobus, which showed Panton and Hunt boarding a bus in White Oak to travel to the site of the planned drug deal on Castle Boulevard around 5:45 p.m. on the day of the killing, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Surveillance video from another Metrobus shows Panton and Hunt leaving the scene an hour later after the drug deal didn’t happen.
Hunt and Barnett told investigators that the plan was to rob Radway and Roberts, but Hunt said shooting them was not part of the plan, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
In September, Panton was convicted by a jury of two counts of first-degree murder, along with several weapons and firearms charges. The original trial had ended in a mistrial just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when the court system shut down, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. His second trial occurred just after the court system reopened.
On Friday, Judge Harry Storm sentenced Panton to two consecutive life sentences without parole, plus 60 years in prison, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Following Friday’s sentencing, State’s Attorney John McCarthy lamented the fact that there have been 12 times in recent years in which a violent crime in the county has involved marijuana.
“Sadly, this is yet another instance where a young person’s life is lost here in the county over marijuana,” he told reporters.
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com