HENDERSON — Personnel from the FBI, Maryland State Police and Caroline County Sheriff’s Office surrounded Judge Jonathan Newell’s house on Westbridge Court Friday just after 6 a.m., announced he was under arrest and demanded he come out over a loudspeaker, according to neighbors.
The judge did not come out of the house. Neighbors described hearing two gunshots and then what they called flash-bang grenades going off as a tactical team entered the house. Another report said there was just one gunshot right after the police arrived and no flash-bangs.
Unconfirmed reports said when police entered the house they found a man with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. Those same reports said the man was Newell. Maryland Judiciary confirmed at 11 a.m. that it had been informed of Newell's sudden death.
An ambulance pulled into the driveway, and law enforcement officers and emergency responders could be seen gathered in the front yard and drive. Cars lined the road on both sides in front of the house.
An ambulance left the house just after 7 a.m.
Newell, the Caroline County Circuit Court Judge, has been out of the courtroom on a paid leave of absence since July 26 following rumors of an alleged police investigation. Neighbors reported seeing at least eight police cars outside of Newell’s residence around 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 24.
Neither the Maryland State Police, the U.S. Justice Department nor other police agencies would confirm if they were investigating Newell. Neither would they comment on rumors of a camera allegedly found in the bathroom of a hunting lodge in Dorchester County or of images of teenage boys that might have been taken there.
On Tuesday, the Maryland Judiciary said Newell’s paid leave of absence had been extended to Sept. 23 and judges from other jurisdictions would continue to cover his cases.
The (Baltimore) Sun reported Sept. 3 speaking to an anonymous law enforcement source, who said the investigation includes “allegations of illicit images of youth.”
The Sun also spoke with a reported victim’s parents, who told the paper their son allegedly found a camera in the bathroom of a hunting lodge while he was there on a trip with Newell. The parents were also not named in the story.
Newell was appointed to the bench by Gov. Larry Hogan and took office Aug. 2, 2016. Before that he was state’s attorney for Caroline County for 13 years. Previously he was a deputy state’s attorney in Kent County and before that served as an assistant public defender in Caroline.