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Jason Thomas SCOTT






A.K.A.: "Mother-Daughter Killer"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Home invasions
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: June 2008 - March 2009
Date of arrest: July 1, 2009
Date of birth: February 21, 1983
Victims profile: Vilma Butler, 46 / Karen Lofton, 45, and her daughter, Karissa, 16 / Delores Dewitt, 42, and her daughter, Ebony, 20
Method of murder: Shooting - Strangulation
Location: Prince George County, Maryland, USA
Status: Sentenced to 97 years in prison on January 11, 2012. Sentenced to 85 years in prison on September 25, 2013
photo gallery
ATF interview with Jason Scott

Jason Scott, Md. serial killer, sentenced to 85 years in prison after entering Alford plea

By Iris Carreras -

September 26, 2013

(CBS/AP) UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - A man dubbed as the "mother-daughter killer" after killing five women in Prince George's County and who was convicted in a series of home invasions entered an Alford plea on Wednesday in the slayings of a nurse and her daughter, according to CBS affiliate WUSA.

Jason Scott, 30, was immediately sentenced to 85 years in prison in the strangulations of 42-year-old Delores Dewitt and her 20-year-old daughter, Ebony, in March 2009.

With an Alford plea, a defendant doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped charges in three other killings: the January 2009 shooting deaths of Karen Lofton, 45, and her daughter, 16-year-old Karissa; and the June 2008 killing of Vilma Butler, 46, who was fatally shot before her Bowie home was set on fire.

WUSA reports Scott used his part time job at a UPS facility to access records of and identify victims.

State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks says she wanted to spare the victims' families the ordeal of several trials.

"We have removed, we believe, a ruthless killer from the streets," Alsobrooks said.

Scott was reportedly caught after a federal informant purchased a gun from him, resulting in a search warrant that uncovered evidence in his numerous crimes.

He was sentenced in January 2012 to 100 years in prison for dozens of armed home invasions and burglaries in Maryland.

Families of the victims did not comment on Scott's sentence on Wednesday, according to the station.


Inside a Criminal Mastermind | Jason Scott

By Brian Kuebler -

February 21, 2012

When it's out of your hands, when your life is at the mercy of an armed, masked man staring down at you from the barrel of a gun in your own home, you grasp at whatever it is you can control; breathing, composure or your faith.

"I just began to pray and quote the scripture, all of the ones that talk about protection and that kind of thing. One of them told me to shut up and be quiet but I figured, if I am gonna die, I may as well die quoting scriptures."

Shirley and Delma Groomes were just two of the scores of victims in what some say is one of the most methodically wicked crime waves in this state's history.

Jason Thomas Scott is a case study in the modern criminal mind.

Educated, good looking and internet savvy he orchestrated a fear that paralyzed parts of Prince George's County for two years.

29 home burglaries, nine home invasions, and the sexual assault of a minor.

Scott is also indicted in the murders of mother and daughter Ebony and Delores Dewitt and currently named a suspect in the killing of mother Karen and Daughter Karissa Lofton along with Velma Butler.

All of it undetected at first because if terror was Jason's assignment...he aced it.

"I think the scariest thing about him was that he took his craft seriously. It was almost as if it was his profession. He studied. He would watch TV shows that focused on criminal forensics whether it was scripted television shows or reality based shows in which they talked about how police conduct their investigations. And he used that information to help him in his criminal endeavors whether it was hiding his DNA by always wearing gloves, or turning off his cell phone and going so far as taking out the battery because he though that perhaps the police might be able to trace where his cell phone was at the time of any of these crimes," said ATF Special Agent David Cheplak.

Cheplak and other agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives would come to know the devil in Jason Scott's details.

Scott, who worked with an accomplice in many of these crimes made use of a database where he worked at UPS to target and gather information on his victims.

He would case homes and neighborhoods for days and when he struck, he was armed with not just guns but tools of his trade; a break-in kit to pop out small windows and cut phone lines, a scanner to monitor police while his crime was in progress, even flex cuffs.
The same tools he used to break into Shirley Groomes’ home, drag her down two flights of stairs holding her at gun point.

"When you have absolutely no control over a situation, when you're totally helpless, it is kind of hard to describe but it's a bad place to be in," said Groomes.

But it is exactly where ATF agents say Jason wanted you to be because your fear yielded not only stolen cash and possessions which he would divvy up at an abandoned home he called the spooky house, but also get a lead on other victims.

During one of the home invasions Scott found a picture of the victim’s teen friend, cross referenced her name in the database and three weeks later hit her house, all for the purpose of sexually assaulting the minor while he photographed it because according to case records, he thought, “she looked nice.”

Admissions of a suspected sociopath investigators would later call scheming, cunning and menacingly devious.

This crime ring Jason Scott was orchestrating in his small part of Prince George's county was as terrorizing as it was brilliant; a masterful criminal stroke without so much as suspicion, a tightly wound enterprise that would only begin to unravel after a misstep Carroll County.

To continue his crime wave uninterrupted, ATF agents say Scott thought he needed silencers so he targeted Carroll County gun store in Woodbine located right next to busy train tracks.

Timed perfectly between the dark of night and the rumbling of a passing train, Scott broke into JC Arms.

[If I say Jason Scott. You say?] “Murder. Criminal. Just total evil."

Jay Chenoweth is the owner of JC Arms, a business he runs between shifts as a Baltimore city firefighter.

"I went to work for night work. Had a good night at work, was happy as could be and that one phone call went from one extreme to the other and it just started a three year nightmare that I just couldn't wake up from."

Because Scott didn't just take silencers, he pilfered about 30 specialty high-powered guns Chenoweth was licensed to sell.

A burglary so well executed, police originally thought it looked like an inside job and considered Chenoweth a suspect.

"It just went further and further down hill as we got into this over the last three years. It started off with the loss of the actual inventory and the loss of security to possibly the loss of my freedom," said Chenoweth.

Until Scott resurfaces and ATF agents get a tip he was selling the stolen guns out of the back of his car in the UPS parking lot.

Scott seems to know the risk and explains it to a confidential informant who was wearing a wire for the ATF's undercover buy.

"You would have to take the numbers off because if whoever gets caught with that, the going to be up sh*@’s alley. I mean, it ain't, it ain't like no bodies on it or nothing, it's just where they came from," Scott is heard saying on the wire.

But the ATF can still trace the guns and did back to JC Arms which ultimately leads to a warrant and a search of Scott's home; a search that yielded the evidence of a much darker criminal.

"It was just deep inside the guns themselves. We seized the evidence, we purchased some evidence and we followed the trail where the evidence led us. That led us from a gun store burglary, to home invasions, to murders to carjackings to just a real violent criminal," said ATF Special Agent John Cooney.

In addition to the guns, ATF found the tools to Scott's trade.

The burglary kit, those flex cuffs, his police scanner with ear buds and what some law enforcement officers call a rape kit; gloves, condoms, lighter fluid, a lighter to burn DNA evidence and a camera to film the act.

Processing all of it reveals Scott's masterful and monstrous spree plotted out with almost the same precision as his criminal practice.

One that would earn him the ire of the District Judge Peter Messitte who at Scott's January, 2012 sentencing called him “a tsunami of crime who shows no indication that he would ever rehabilitate, at least not in this life.”

Jason Scott's defense that he was struggling with homosexuality and simply proving himself to his friends was ultimately dismissed; he was sentenced to 100 years in the federal system.

Justice served, but for his victims their sense of security and very faith in humanity remains pierced by what they said in court were the cold, dark eyes of Jason Scott.

"As long as I allow what he did to effect the way I live my life daily, then Jason Scott is still in control, and I refuse to let him control me. But he is right now. He is still in control, even from where he is and that is the epitome of insult. It should never be that way," said Groomes.

Without parole in the federal system, Jason Scott will likely never be free.

He still faces at least two murder charges in Prince George’s County; the trial is set for October, 2012.


Man sentenced to 100 years in prison also suspect in killings

By Peter Hermann -

January 11, 2012

On Tuesday, we told you about Jason Thomas Scott, a 28-year-old who faced at least 97 years for 11 felonies that included up to 50 burglaries and nine home invasions in Prince George's County. In one case, prosecutors said he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Greenbelt decided 97 years wasn't enough, and put him away for an even century. On top of that, Scott still faces a trial in the deaths of a mother and daughter who were found in a burning car in Largo in 2009.

Police said he used information he got from working at UPS to track down his victims. Authorities said he also stole guns and sold them on the street. Prosecutors called him a "professional criminal."

Today's Washington Post has some details from a news conference by the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office, which includes comments from one of his terrified victims. Here is a statement from federal prosecutors detailing the charges;

"According to testimony presented during Scott’s three week trial, Scott was interviewed in the presence of his attorney several times after his arrest and admitted that he committed 28 specific residential burglaries and nine armed home invasion robberies in Prince George’s County, including one home invasion during which Scott sexually assaulted a minor and took pornographic pictures of her. Scott also admitted that he committed many other burglaries for which he did not provide details. Finally, Scott confessed to the robbery of a firearms store in Carroll County. The evidence showed that Scott started committing burglaries at a young age, then he graduated to home invasion robberies in 2008. Many of the crimes were committed with accomplices, but Scott committed some crimes by himself.

"Scott selected the homes to be targeted; observed the targeted homes to assess the number of occupants and the vehicles present; checked addresses, using internet searches and a database at the Landover UPS facility where Scott worked; cut phone lines to disable alarm systems; and gained entry through unlocked windows or by smashing glass windows and doors.

"According to the evidence presented at trial, during the burglaries and home invasions, Scott wore dark clothing, a black balaclava mask and black Nike gloves, and he carried a black North Face backpack with a flashlight and various burglary tools. Scott used a scanner with an earpiece to monitor police communications and police activity in the immediate area. During the home invasions, Scott carried a handgun and wore a holster. The evidence showed that Scott stole money; computers and computer accessories; flat screen televisions; firearms; safes; debit and credit cards; cell phones; and vehicles.

"Evidence showed that Scott committed approximately 25 residential burglaries with Marcus Dermanellian Hunter, and occasionally used a vacant residential home in the 1100 block of Drumsheugh Lane in Upper Marlboro, to divide stolen items with Hunter.

"Scott was convicted of charges relating to four residential home invasion robberies. According to trial testimony, on September 23, 2008, Scott and Hunter broke a sliding glass door of a home in Upper Marlboro. Once inside the residence, Scott, armed with a handgun, extensively beat and dragged a female victim through the house. Scott forcibly dragged the victim to a downstairs area where Hunter was holding her husband at gunpoint. After obtaining two of their ATM cards, Hunter left the residence and withdrew money from their accounts at a nearby ATM machine. Scott remained in the residence and held the victims at gunpoint. When Hunter returned, Scott and Hunter stole a 2007 Cadillac Escalade.

"On April 3, 2009, Scott and Hunter entered a home in Bowie, Maryland, through an unlocked basement window. Scott and Hunter found a husband and wife sleeping in an upstairs bedroom with their youngest child. At gunpoint, Scott ordered the family, including their three children and a visiting cousin, into the children’s room. After obtaining ATM and debit cards, Scott demanded the pin numbers from his victims and sent Hunter to withdraw money from their accounts at nearby ATM machines. Once Hunter returned to the residence, where Scott was still holding the victims at gunpoint, they stole various items, including a 2004 Mercedes S-500.

"On May 23, 2009, Scott and Terence Alexander Cooke broke into another home in Upper Marlboro, after breaking a basement window. Once inside, Scott repeatedly kicked and beat a juvenile female at gunpoint, while pulling her from the upstairs hallway into a bathroom. Scott and Cooke also ordered the juvenile's mother into the same bathroom, then stole property including a handgun and a 2004 Lexus LS430.

"On May 26, 2009, Scott and Hunter broke into a federally licensed gun business in Woodbine, Maryland. Scott researched the dealer using the Choice Point database at Landover UPS facility where he worked part-time. Scott and Hunter stole 39 firearms, including semi-automatic rifles, two machine guns, several handguns and six silencers. Testimony showed that on June 17, 2009, in the parking lot of the Landover UPS facility, Scott sold four of the firearms stolen from the firearms dealer to an individual who was cooperating with federal agents.

"According to trial testimony, Scott specifically targeted a 17-year old minor and broke into her home in Fort Washington, Maryland, on June 13, 2009, by throwing a cinder block through the rear patio door. Once he gained entry, Scott held a 12-year old girl at gunpoint with a handgun. When the child’s mother, 17-year-old sister and five-year-old brother arrived, Scott ordered them into a bedroom at gunpoint. He then ordered the 17-year old female into a separate bedroom. Scott brandished a firearm, ordered her to undress and placed a pillowcase over her head. Once the minor female was nude, Scott touched the girl and forced her to pose while he photographed and videotaped her.

"On July 1, 2009, law enforcement personnel searched Scott’s residence and car and arrested him on firearms charges. As a result of a series of search warrants, officers recovered evidence from Scott’s bedroom and car that included 16 stolen firearms, a North Face backpack, balaclava ski masks, Nike gloves, burglary tools, police radio frequency scanners, computers, computer storage devices, ammunition and holsters, and video and digital cameras. The photographs and video of the young victim were found on storage media in his bedroom.

"Scott is charged in Prince George’s County Circuit Court with murdering Delores Dewitt and her daughter Ebony, whose bodies were discovered in March 2009 in a burning car in Largo, Maryland. His state trial is scheduled to begin in October 2012.

"Marcus Dermanellian Hunter, age 25, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to two federal firearms charges and is awaiting sentencing. Terence Alexander Cooke pleaded guilty to a state gun crime in Prince George’s County Circuit Court involving a home invasion robbery committed with Scott, and was sentenced to nine years in jail with all but five years suspended.



Maryland's Mother-Daughter Killings

BY Gary C. King -

A Double Murder

It was shortly past 2 a.m. on Monday, January 26, 2009, when Karissa Lofton, 16, called 911 to report that she and her mother, Karen Lofton, 45, had been shot inside their home located on the 10800 block of Southall Drive, in Largo, Md., a quiet suburban neighborhood about 16 miles east of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 95 near the Capital Beltway. She told the dispatcher that they needed immediate assistance, whispering her plea for help into the phone, perhaps because her assailant was still inside the house.

When the police arrived at the Loftons' two-story, colonial-style home less than five minutes later, there was no sign of forced entry. The front door was locked, but officers found a window on the side of the house that was closed but unlocked. An officer quietly crawled in through the window, his gun drawn, and let other officers inside through the front door. They searched the house room by room, but they soon realized that they had arrived too late. Karissa and her mother had both been shot dead by an unknown intruder or intruders, who were nowhere to be found.

According to Prince George's County acting Chief of Police Roberto Hylton, there was nothing to suggest that anything had been stolen from the house, which all but excluded robbery as a motive. Homicide detectives arrived at the crime scene a short time after the initial investigating officers and began looking for clues. They found that Karen had been crouched down in a corner of her bedroom, apparently trying to protect herself, and believed that she had been shot and killed at that location in the upper portion of her home. Investigators concluded that Karissa had been shot in her own bed, also located on the second floor; her body found beneath the covers.

According to a report that appeared later on America's Most Wanted, their home security system had been activated that night, but "was turned off within minutes of the break-in." Did that mean that the killer or killers had forced either Karen or Karissa to disarm the security system or had somehow later gained entry to the house without setting off the alarm, such as through an unlocked and unprotected window? It was said that Karen Lofton never left home without arming her security system, but police would later conclude that whoever entered the Lofton home that night had somehow neutralized the system before going inside. However, no one could explain how this could have been accomplished.

It was also revealed that police believed that a suspect may have fled through a backyard window after the murders. If that had been a perpetrator's exit, could that also have been the portal through which the killer or killers entered the house?

Karen and Karissa Lofton

Investigators learned that Karen, a school nurse, and Karissa had gone to church on Sunday, January 25, 2009, and that Karissa had later gone to work at her job at the Golden Corral restaurant at the Capital Centre. It was reported by The Washington Post that family members said she was last seen leaving the restaurant at approximately 9 p.m. Detectives were unable to determine how Karissa had gotten home from work: her mother typically picked her up, but it appeared that Karen had not done so that night.

At this point in the investigation, so much was still a mystery, and police were working under the theory that Karen and Karissa Lofton were likely killed by someone who knew them. But who? Karen's ex-husband, as well as other relatives and friends, were quickly ruled out as suspects. It was possible, of course, that whoever killed Karen and Karissa lived in the same neighborhood, but no leads had been developed to support that possibility. The detectives noted that the neighborhood consists of a number of well-kept homes with large yards.

"The area is pretty quiet," Hylton said.

Twelve days earlier and some five miles away another double homicide had occurred in a gated community of million-dollar homes in the Upper Marlboro area. In that case, Eunice Baah, 36, and Seth Aidoo, 40, had been killed in their home located on the 14500 block of Turner Wootton Parkway. Aidoo had been stabbed to death, and Baah had died from a gunshot wound to the head. According to Hylton, despite public speculation, there was nothing to indicate that the deaths of Karen and Karissa Lofton were connected to the deaths of Baah and Aidoo.

"This is an isolated incident," Hylton said of the Lofton shootings. "This is not a serial killer... we're pulling out all the resources, doing everything forensically that we can."

In the meantime, Tonya Douglas, 39, Karissa's cousin and Karen's niece, described Karen Lofton as a hard-working woman and a loving mother.

"She wanted the best for her children and family," Douglas said. "She was a supportive person. Karissa was the same way."

As time passed with detectives still unable to identify a suspect in the killings, investigators began to consider whether Karen and Karissa had been killed by a stranger, which made the killings even more chilling.

Two Months Later

Not quite two months later on Monday, March 16, 2009, at approximately 4 a.m., a stolen Nissan Maxima was set ablaze in the driveway of a vacant house on the 11000 block of Webbwood Court in Largo, a house which had been for sale for some time. The car had been stolen from a home on Woodlawn Boulevard a short time earlier, only a few blocks away from where it was set on fire, and the police were actively searching for it when it was found.

Firefighters called to the scene extinguished the flames quickly, but by the time they had arrived the car had burned so badly that the driveway's asphalt beneath it had been scarred, literally melted by the intense heat. Much of the Nissan's interior had been reduced to ashes, and the adjacent garage was also damaged by the blaze. Once the blaze was extinguished, firefighters began to scour the car for clues, believing that an accelerant had been used to ignite it, possibly gasoline, but quickly made two macabre discoveries: a charred human body lay in the back seat and another, also badly burned, had been stuffed inside the trunk. Realizing they were dealing with more than a routine car fire, firefighters preserved the scene so that it could later be examined for evidence and notified the Prince George's County Police Department that they had a suspected homicide on their hands.

When homicide investigators arrived at the scene, the smell of gasoline fumes was still very strong. One look at the bodies told them that they had been burned beyond recognition — investigators could not even determine the gender of the bodies at that point. As a result, positive identification would have to be made by other means.

It was duly noted by investigators that their new homicide case was in almost the same neighborhood where Karen Lofton and her daughter, Karissa, had been killed. Many of the area's residents had become very concerned, even frightened, and wanted to know what was going on in their otherwise-peaceful community.

"A tragedy — it's a terrible tragedy," area resident Becky Ringeisen said. "It's scary to live in this neighborhood."

Because of the case's close proximity to the scene of the Lofton murders, Chief Roberto Hylton would eventually be faced with rethinking his earlier assessment that the Loftons had not been killed by a serial killer.

"This is a very, very strange case," Hylton said. "This is unusual for this community... this is so bizarre."

Hylton said that his department had not seen that level of violence for the past several years. In addition to what appeared to be four homicides in a two-month period, the community had also experienced a number of property crimes and burglaries in recent months. He assigned additional detectives to help work the case, and said that investigators would work around the clock until they obtained some results.

Neighborhood Witnesses

Frederick Colvin, staying with his mother at her home near the address at which the burning Nissan had been found, told reporters for Fox News as well as the police that he had been awakened by a loud noise on the night of the fire.

"I just heard booms, like maybe thunder from far off," Colvin said. "And then we just came to the window and looked and saw lots of police cars..."

Another neighbor, Jerome Jones, said that his wife thought she had heard gunshots.

"She heard some noise, some shooting noises," Jones said. "Pow, pow... basically that's all she heard." Jones said that when he saw the car, it was all burned up, "nothing but ashes."

In the meantime, according to Chief Hylton, investigators were exploring the possibility that the bodies in the burned-out car were those of another mother and daughter, who had been reported missing only a few hours earlier. In looking at a number of missing-person reports, detectives were also considering the possibility that the bodies might be those of two teenage girls from Anne Arundel County who had disappeared earlier in the month. Before the case could advance, they knew they first needed to positively identify the two bodies found in the car.

It turned out that a young woman, Courtney Hicks, 17, had arrived at the Largo Metro station a few hours earlier, on Sunday, March 15, 2009, just after 10:00 p.m., after spending the weekend with friends. She sent her mother, Delores Dewitt, 42, a text message asking for a ride home, but there was no response. After making her way on foot to her house, located in the 9700 block of Cedarhollow Lane, she found that her mother and her sister, Ebony Dewitt, 19, were not at home, although it seemed from all appearances that they should have been. The lights were on inside the house, Ebony's jacket was near the door, and her mother's car was in the driveway — yet neither were anywhere to be found. When she called out to them, no one responded. She checked their rooms, then left the house and began calling their cell phones. At one point Courtney asked neighbors if they had seen her mother and sister, but no one had. As a result, Courtney reported her mother and sister missing to the police.

"I thought for sure something had gone wrong," said Hicks, a college student. "But I never thought in a million years that it would be the outcome that it was."

The police later found a witness, Ebony's boyfriend, who said that he had dropped Ebony off at her home at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Apparently, the boyfriend was the last person to have seen either of the missing women. The boyfriend was not named as a suspect.

Delores, Ebony and Case Similarities

Late the following day, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, the bodies found inside the burned-out car were positively identified as those of Delores and Ebony Dewitt, and police immediately realized they were dealing with a second case of a mother and daughter killed in Prince George's County under similar circumstances in less than two months.

Although police were not yet officially linking the Lofton case with the Dewitt case, striking similarities between the two cases surged to the forefront. Karen Lofton and Delores Dewitt were both nurses, both of their daughters were teenagers; the Loftons lived less than a mile from the Dewitt residence; and each had been killed in the early morning hours on a Monday. Also, the houses in which the Loftons and Dewitts had lived both backed up to cul-de-sacs, and both were located in very nice suburban neighborhoods.

"We have not definitively linked these cases," Prince George's County Police Department Major Andy Ellis said. "They have very uncanny resemblances to each other. They occurred close in time to each other, close in distance to each other. We have mothers and daughters. There are very strong circumstantial links, but we don't have anything definitive at this point."

Neighbor Kay Walker, who lives across the street from the Dewitts, told Fox News that the Dewitt residence had been burglarized in December 2008.

"They had purchased a Wii, a brand new television and one other item, an electronic item, and about a week later those items were stolen," Walker said. Someone, she said, "had broken in through a window... and only those items... were stolen."

America's Most Wanted reported that police later confirmed that there had been approximately 40 burglaries since October 2008 in the neighborhood where the killings had occurred.

Although the police did not immediately say how Delores and Ebony had been killed, many in the area presumed that they had been shot due to earlier witness statements and the fact that Karen and Karissa Lofton had been shot. Police did issue a warning to area residents to immediately report to the police if they should come home and find that their house had been broken into, and not to go inside their homes to determine what had occurred before police responded.

According to investigators, the Dewitt home was being thoroughly scoured for clues to what might have happened to the mother and daughter, and detectives were planning to return to the Lofton home to go over it again as well.

In the meantime, police were learning that many things had occurred simultaneously in different areas of the Largo neighborhood the morning of the car fire, all within a very short timeframe.

The Stolen Car

Backing up to the time just prior to the discovery of the burning car, while Courtney Hicks waited and worried about what had become of her mother and sister, Sybil Felton, another Largo resident, living on the 10800 block of Woodlawn Boulevard, called 911. She made the call outside, from her driveway, at 3:39 a.m. on Sunday, to report that her 2005 Nissan Maxima had been stolen. Felton told the emergency dispatcher that she would be flying to Europe later in the day, and had left her home with her boyfriend at approximately 2 a.m. to run an errand. When she returned less than two hours later, she said, her Nissan was gone.

While Felton was speaking with the 911 operator, Felton suddenly let out a scream and hung up. The operator called back immediately to ask if Felton was okay, and Felton replied that she was. She had shrieked and hung up, she explained, because she had seen someone speeding past her house in her Nissan. She said that she could not determine how many people were inside the car, and was unable to provide police with a description of the driver.

Within minutes of Felton finishing her report to the 911 dispatcher, the call reporting the burning car in the driveway of the vacant home three blocks away came in, and the car was ultimately identified as Felton's. As investigators processed all of the information rapidly coming in, it was recalled that Felton's house had been burglarized on February 28, 2009, a Saturday, and that the key to her Nissan Maxima had been stolen during that burglary. Strangely, nothing else had been reported as missing as a result of the break-in, but investigators now believed that the person or persons who had stolen the key had returned to steal the vehicle, abduct Delores and Ebony, kill them and set the car on fire with their bodies inside.

It was a complex case, but the detectives, some of Prince George's County's finest, knew they had to unravel all the details to determine what had actually happened that night, and they were confident that they would eventually do so. Investigators were nonetheless baffled as to Delores and Ebony's location from the time Courtney returned home at 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., which is the earliest time that Felton told investigators her car could have been stolen. They knew that Delores and Ebony had not driven themselves away from their home in that time frame, since Courtney had found their own car parked in the driveway of their home. It seemed likely that they had already been abducted by that time, and if so it also seemed likely that the suspect or suspects had used another car until the time that Felton's car was stolen. It also puzzled police that the driver of Felton's stolen car was able to drive past Felton's house, park the car in the driveway of the vacant house, set the car ablaze using an accelerant, and escape from the crime scene on a dead-end street without being seen by anyone in less than ten minutes.

Within days the police began asking the public to help them make some sense out of the tangled web with which they were dealing, and offered a $25,000 reward as an incentive to get witnesses to come forward. A similar reward was also offered for information about the Lofton murders. Unfortunately there were no takers, and investigators decided that they would reinvestigate all of the burglaries that had occurred in the neighborhood recently in an attempt to ferret out additional clues that might put them on the trail of a suspect for the killings.

Additional Information

On Thursday, March 19, 2009, Major Andy Ellis told reporters that Delores and Ebony's purses were missing. One was a multicolored Fossil purse, and the other was a black patent leather purse with a large Cadillac emblem. Ellis said that he could not release details about the contents of the purses or whether any of the victims' credit cards had been used or bank accounts accessed. Ellis also said that the earlier break-in at the Dewitt home, in which their television and a video game system had been stolen, did not appear to be connected with their homicides.

Without divulging how the Dewitts had been killed, Ellis said that there was a distinct difference in the manner of death between the Dewitt and Lofton homicide cases. In the Lofton case, the victims had been shot, but the Dewitts had been killed in a different manner, the details of which police were keeping close to the vest.

Although the possibility that a serial killer was behind the killings in the mother and daughter slayings was initially downplayed, Lt. William Rayle, commander of Prince George's County's homicide department's criminal investigative division, told a group of residents during a neighborhood meeting that the police were following at least 30 leads in the Dewitt case and had not ruled out the possibility that a serial killer was at work in the county. In addition to urging community residents to continue using caution in their daily affairs, such as making sure that their doors and windows were kept locked and that they always kept tabs on their home and car keys, Rayle also urged anyone with information that might help them solve the difficult case to come forward.

"The smallest, minute details sometimes bring these cases to conclusion," Rayle said. "Somebody in the community saw something: someone walking down the street, a dog barking. Anything would greatly assist... we're still following up everything we have. Somebody somewhere knows something. That person needs to call us."

Following the Dewitt slayings, the Prince George's County Police Department committed its entire homicide squad, as well as many other senior investigators from other squads, to solve the mysterious case. Officers went door-to-door in the neighborhoods where the killings had occurred, and asked for numerous DNA samples from many of the people with whom they spoke. Additionally, detectives collected approximately 200 pieces of evidence, and asked the FBI to put together a profile of their suspect or suspects.

"My heart is aching," said a person who attended a memorial service for Delores and Ebony. "I am hurting because I lost a friend."

"Delores was a beautiful person, had a beautiful spirit and was just a wonderful person all around," another friend said. "And so was Ebony."


Despite the similarities between the Lofton and Dewitt homicide cases, an FBI profiler told the Prince George's County detectives that the slayings they were investigating were not the work of a serial killer. The profiler went a step further by concluding that the two double slayings were not connected at all, according to reports that appeared in The Washington Post. According to Detective Bernard Nelson, lead investigator in the Lofton case, the profiler said that the similarities between the cases were "just weird coincidences." Although detectives would not say much and everyone agreed that nothing would be entirely ruled out, there were fundamental differences between the killings in the modus operandi of the killer in each case.

"We've got the pieces to the puzzle," Detective Anthony Schartner, lead investigator in the Dewitt case, said. "Now we just need somebody to tell us where the pieces go, to tell us why it makes sense."

Nelson and Schartner worked closely on their respective cases, and shared notes about everything they uncovered despite the fact that developments had taken them in markedly different directions in their pursuit of a suspect. In the Lofton case, for instance, the victims had been shot, and the killer seemed to be considerably more organized than the killer in the Dewitt case. Although police, at the time, had continued to keep the details of the Dewitt case from the public, AOL News later reported that Delores Dewitt and Ebony had been asphyxiated before their bodies were torched in the car fire, and in that case the killer had seemed much more disorganized or all over the place in his actions. Schartner eventually revealed to The Washington Post that the Dewitts were dead prior to their bodies being placed in the stolen Nissan and set ablaze in plain view of the neighborhood. Schartner also revealed that investigators believed that the suspect or suspects had fled the scene by escaping into a nearby backyard and running into the woods, a theory supported by a canine unit's discovery of a scent trail along that route.

"They were lucky that they weren't caught," Schartner said in July 2009. "There was a lot of unnecessary risks that were taken."

Despite their theories and the progress made on the Dewitt case, many questions remained, including where Delores and Ebony had been killed and where they had been placed into the stolen vehicle.

"There's so much action in that case," Schartner said. "Somebody has to know something. There's too much activity."

Nonetheless, despite the best efforts of all the investigators, there was little that pointed them toward a suspect. They needed a break badly, and were about to get it: their suspect was literally right under their noses.

The Tables Turn

According to Special Agent Clare Weber, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Field Division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), JC Arms, a gun shop in Woodbine, Md., had been robbed of guns and other items in May 2009. ATF's investigation of the gun theft had led them, via an informer, to Jason Thomas Scott, 27, a part-time worker for United Parcel Service (UPS) for the past nine years. ATF obtained a warrant and searched Scott's residence.

Items found inside the house, where Scott lived with his parents and sister, during the ATF raid included computer files, a set of BMW car keys, a dozen guns, a police scanner, a silencer, and a bullet proof vest. Some of the items allegedly had been taken during break-ins in the area where the homicides occurred, according to what law enforcement officials told The Washington Post. ATF agents also found what could be construed as a burglar's kit: a crowbar, Gerber tool gloves and a ski mask.

During one of the searches of Scott's residence, police found a flash drive that contained photos of a naked, young female with a pillowcase over her head that they believe was connected to a June 13, 2009, Fort Washington incident, in which a young woman and her mother returned home and found a man holding the young woman's younger sister at gunpoint, according to court records. The perpetrator allegedly ordered the older sister into a bedroom, forced her to remove her clothes, took nude photos of her and sexually assaulted her.

Scott was arrested in July 2009 in a UPS parking lot on the weapons charges, and subsequently indicted on federal carjacking, weapons, and sex charges. Scott was held on the federal charges and remained in custody while Prince George's County homicide detectives built their cases against him. According to AOL News, Scott, of Upper Marlboro, Md., who lived in a suburban colonial home near the Dewitt home, was allegedly selling weapons out of the trunk of his car. He was initially charged with selling 14 stolen guns that included pistols, assault weapons, silencers and a machine gun following an undercover operation in which an informant bought four guns from Scott for $3,000. Three of those guns allegedly came from the gun store in Woodbine that had been burglarized earlier.

"For it to potentially have turned into such a significant case that affects this community, that's kind of why you want to go to work every day," Weber said after Scott's arrest.

"If we had to pick one moment in the investigation that was kind of the turning point, that was probably it — the search warrant on this guy's house by the ATF," Major Andy Ellis said. Scott pleaded not guilty and was scheduled to go on trial on the federal charges against him in November 2010.

A Crafty Criminal

According to law enforcement sources, Scott was as a "brilliant" criminal who had studied forensic textbooks and had changed his modus operandi to throw investigators off his trail. He was allegedly so well-versed in forensic science techniques that he was able to clean up crime scenes and used his knowledge to confuse detectives and to deceive an FBI profiler into believing that the crimes were not connected. Scott reportedly holds two master's degrees, one in information systems management from the University of Maryland, according to ABC News.

"While I don't want to glorify his intellectual capacity, I will tell you he is a challenge to us," Hylton said.

Investigators theorized that Scott had led a double life, working at a UPS sorting facility by day correcting addresses on packages that were returned as undeliverable, and allegedly carrying out criminal activities by night. Police alleged that he utilized his computer skills to research law enforcement forensic procedures to help him cover his tracks. Police also said that he may have used UPS databases to learn about his alleged victims, and investigators now believe he used bleach to clean his crime scenes and started fires to destroy evidence.

Those who worked alongside Scott at UPS were shocked at news of the charges he was facing. His coworkers said that he was quiet, and mostly kept to himself.

"He always came to work," said one coworker who did not want to be identified. "He was never anyone that caused any problems. If you asked him to do something, he did it. He was extremely fast at typing. As far as employees go, he was pretty good... now that you think about it, it's scary."

Additional Evidence

Following the ATF search of Scott's house, Prince George's County police searched the residence again and recovered evidence that allegedly connected Scott to a December 2007 burglary in Mitchellville, a June 2008 burglary near Kettering, and a May 2009 burglary in Bowie, as well as other crimes.

A witness who reportedly assisted Scott with the gun sales and burglaries apparently agreed to help investigators and told them that he and Scott were also involved in a number of home invasions in 2008 and 2009.

Despite his previous statements to the contrary and the FBI profile indicating that the homicides were not the work of a serial killer, Chief Roberto Hylton now characterized Scott as a "serial killer."

Scott was also being investigated to determine whether he was responsible for the June 2008 killing of Vilma Artis Butler, a Bowie, Md., woman who was shot and her house set on fire. Police are also concerned that Scott may be responsible for additional unsolved killings in Washington, D.C., Texas and Florida, locations he is known to have visited, according to ABC News.

On the surface, much of the evidence against Scott appears to be circumstantial, although investigators have not released information on everything they have gathered so far. Chief Hylton has stated, however, that the evidence in the case is "overwhelming" and places Scott at the "crime scene." Hylton did not specify which crime scene, but added that anthropology and botany experts from the University of Maryland helped detectives with their investigation.

Murder Charges

Scott was charged on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 with the murders of Delores and Ebony Dewitt after a Prince George's County grand jury returned a seven count indictment. In addition to the murder charges, Scott was also charged with two counts of burglary. If convicted, he faces two life sentences.

"Clearly, this was a gruesome double murder that really shocked the community," said Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn Ivey. "I hope that this indictment will help bring some sense of calm to the community."

Police suspect that Scott is also responsible for the deaths of Karen and Karissa Lofton, but he has yet to be charged in that case. As he sits in jail awaiting trial, detectives are continuing to investigate Scott to determine if the Largo atrocities were the beginning of his killing alleged criminal activities or if they were the end. If it turns out to be the latter, only time will tell how many additional victims will be attributed to Scott.

"The case before you, I think, is going to be a case study for many law enforcement agencies in the future," Chief Hylton said after the charges against Scott were leveled.

"This was an individual that was very well-read, a studious person, that studied the policing system, knew the policing system, knew about his craft... this is a very bad guy... I think this individual is going to become one of the most infamous criminals in the history of the United States... he's a serial killer."

Following the indictment, Hylton also characterized Scott as a "hard-core criminal that just preyed on this community."

At this point in the investigation, police believe Scott was a stranger to the victims and that there was no clear motive for the killings. Detectives are continuing their investigation, and it remains possible that additional charges may be forthcoming.

Defendant in Mother-Daughter Killings Takes Alford Plea

Wednesday, defendant Jason Scott accepted an Alford plea for the murders of Delores Dewitt and her daughter Ebony, and was sentenced to two life sentences with all but 85 years suspended. The Alford plea acknowledges the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, but is not a guilty plea. Scott will likely not face charges in three other murders.



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