Frederick mayoral candidate indicted in alleged assault case

·3 min read

Oct. 16—A Frederick mayoral candidate faces additional charges in an alleged July assault after an indictment issued Friday.

Steven Lee Hamrick, Jr., 35, was indicted Friday on charges of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, use of a firearm in a violent crime, illegal possession of ammunition, reckless endangerment and two counts each of possession of a firearm with a felony conviction, illegal possession of a regulated firearm, disqualified possession of a shotgun or rifle and possession of rifle or shotgun with a felony conviction.

An initial appearance is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Frederick County Circuit Court — 10 days after the election. He faces Democratic incumbent Michael O'Connor. Former mayor Jennifer Dougherty, who lost the Democratic primary, has also announced a write-in campaign.

Police say Hamrick pointed a gun at a group of people after an argument at his apartment complex on July 31, according to court documents.

Contacted Friday, Hamrick said via email that he'd just learned of the indictment, and that "it's all false the only reason they are trying to come after me 3 months later is because I'm running for mayor and everybody knows this."

Hamrick was also convicted in a 2016 domestic violence case in which, according to charging documents, he assaulted and choked his then-girlfriend during an argument at their apartment.

Hamrick entered an Alford plea to a charge of second-degree assault in June 2016 and was sentenced to 18 months with all but 27 days of time already served suspended, according to the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office. He was put on two years of supervised probation and required to complete anger management classes and to have no further contact with the victim in the case.

An Alford plea is one in which a defendant "accepts all the ramifications of a guilty verdict (i.e. punishment) without first attesting to having committed the crime," according to the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell University Law School.

Elections board considers posting more candidate information

Earlier this week, a board that oversees Frederick's elections said it will consider posting more information about candidates who file to run for office in future elections. The discussion came after questions about Hamrick's use of an alternate spelling of his last name on this year's ballot.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections said it would consider posting paperwork filed by candidates requesting to run under a name other than their legal name.

In April, Hamrick, who won the September Republican mayor primary, filed to run under the name Steven Hammrick on this year's ballot. He later told the News-Post that he chose to run under that name because he no longer associates with his family.

Responding to a question from a resident, the Board of Supervisors of Elections said Hamrick's use of an alternate name is allowed under the city's code and that he met all the criteria to run.

"While we have determined all procedures were followed and Mr. Hamrick meets the requirements to run for the office of Mayor, the Board nevertheless appreciates the public concern surrounding this issue and will study the procedures concerning Affidavits of Alternate Name and consider posting them in future elections in order to provide increased transparency," Board President Marc Mitchell wrote.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

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