Murder Suspect Enters Plea in Case of Millersville Teen Found Near Brooklyn Park Funeral Home While Awaiting Trial in Connection with Annapolis Homicide

The suspect charged with the 2020 fatal shooting of a man in Annapolis has entered a plea in connection with the case of the teen who was found shot to death last year behind a local funeral home. 

According to a statement issued by the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office,  Jaden Kemetrius Crowner, from Brooklyn Park, entered an alford plea Friday to first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the March 2022 killing of 19-year-old Devin Scott Freeman behind Gonce Funeral Services

The alford plea allows Crowner to maintain his innocence while also acknowledging prosecutors have enough evidence that could have been used to find him guilty at trial.  

Crowner, now 19, faces life in prison at sentencing, scheduled for June 27, 2023 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in Annapolis.

“This was a senseless crime where one teen lured another to meet up for the sole purpose of robbing and murdering him,” Leitess said. “This was a calculated plan and the defendant’s actions show that he has no regard for human life, and it is for the safety of our community that we are seeking a life sentence.” 

On February 27, 2022, just after 10 a.m., Anne Arundel County police were called to Gonce Funeral Service, in the 4000 block of Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn. Witnesses reported locating blood in the parking lot and a body behind the business, later identified as Mr. Freeman. The teen was missing a shirt, jacket and shoes, and his wallet was empty. Officers also located a gun cartridge nearby. A medical examiner ruled Mr. Freeman’s death a homicide by gunshot wounds.

Officers obtained footage from multiple security cameras. The footage showed Mr. Freeman being dropped off at a 7-Eleven store directly across the street from the funeral home. After waiting a few moments, Mr. Freeman is shown meeting with another man, who pointed across the street. The two are seen crossing Ritchie Highway. Soon after, the video showed a struggle, followed by Mr. Freeman collapsing onto the pavement. 

Detectives found burned remnants of Mr. Freeman’s backpack in a nearby alley. His jacket and shoes were also found nearby. A witness also informed police that Mr. Freeman possessed several hundred dollars in cash the evening before his death.

Further investigation led police to Mr. Freeman’s social media accounts, where they found messages sent between the teen and an individual, who asked to meet at the 7-Eleven to purchase marijuana. Mr. Freeman later texted this individual to let him know he was at the convenience store. It is at this time video footage captured the meeting. 

Investigators identified Jaden Crowner as the man who met up with the victim. During a search of the defendant’s Brooklyn home, located one block from Gonce Funeral Service, detectives found a distinctive black hoodie worn by the individual in video footage, which was stained with what was later identified as the victim’s blood.

After a lengthy and thorough investigation, detectives with the Annapolis Police Department were able to identify Crowner as a suspect in the July 2020 murder of Walters Elangwe, police said. 

On July 11, 2020, at approximately 3:57 p.m., officers from the Annapolis Police Department were called to the 1100 block of Primrose Court for a reported shooting. The officers arrived and located Walters Mpang Elangwe, of Washington DC, with injuries consistent with being shot. Elangwe, 29, was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

On June 3, 2022, about two years after the murder of Elangwe, Crowner was charged with first degree murder and several related charges. That trial is scheduled for later this year, according to court records.  Crowner had already been in custody on a no bond status after being arrested on March 9, 2022, in connection with the shooting Devin Freeman.