Ocean City Today

Anthony Tunnell convicted of first-degree murder

Life sentence sought for man who shot James Allen Jr. in Pocomoke City last year
By Brian Gilliand | Sep 21, 2017

(Sept. 22, 2017) Following a two-day trial in Circuit Court in Snow Hill, a jury took less than an hour to find Anthony Tunnell, 37, guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of James Allen Jr. on Dec. 1, 2016 in Pocomoke City.

Tunnell was acquitted of firearm possession with a felony conviction, and a felony charge of having a controlled dangerous substance while in the possession of a firearm charge was not pursued by the prosecution.

Sentencing for Tunnell awaits a presentence investigation report. Assistant State’s Attorney Billy McDermott said the state is pursuing a life sentence without the possibility of parole. With the abolishment of the death penalty in the state in 2013, it’s the harshest possible sentence allowable.

The Maryland State Police reported James Allen Jr., 26, of Pitts Circle in Pocomoke City, was pronounced dead at the scene in the area of Fourth and Market streets after suffering multiple gunshot wounds on the evening of Dec. 1.

Shortly after 10 p.m. that night, police received a 911 call from a passing motorist that reported seeing a man stagger and fall in the middle of the road.

Police believe the incident occurred about an eighth of a mile away, in the area of Fourth and Oxford streets.

Tunnell was apprehended on Dec. 11, reportedly without incident, in a Salisbury hotel.

At the time of the incident, Lt. Earl Starner, Maryland State Police Berlin Barracks commander, said both victim and perpetrator had connections to what he called a “drug nexus” in southern Worcester. He declined to comment on the scope or location of the nexus.

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