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WV Couple Convicted, Sentenced For Murder of A Baltimore Man

August 17th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Allegany County, Michael O. Twigg, State’s Attorney, announced on Wednesday, August 17, that Jason Paul Wilt, 32 of Keyser, and Erika Renee Dersin, 28 of Short Gap, were convicted and sentenced relating to their involvement in the murder of Rhyshon Smith on January 27, 2016 in the area of Rt. 51 and Uhl Highway in Allegany County. Wilt entered a plea of guilty to first degree murder in July.  The Honorable W. Timothy Finan, sentenced Wilt to Life suspending all but 30 years in the Maryland Department of Corrections.  Dersin entered a plea of guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 30 years in the Maryland Department of Corrections.

During the evening hours of January 27, 2016, first responders were called to the area of Route 51 near Uhl Highway for a report of a man lying along the road suffering from stabs wounds.  The victim was identified as Rhyshon Smith, 25 of Baltimore, who succumbed to his injuries at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Following the investigation, Wilt and his girlfriend, Dersin, were arrested for Smith’s murder.  Wilt ultimately confessed to the killing, implicating Dersin as an accomplice to the crime, and indicating that as the vehicle traveled Rt. 51, the couple had prearranged a signal whereby Dersin, from the rear passenger seat, would restrain Smith, the front passenger, with a bungee cord, while Wilt robbed him.  As the couple attempted to execute their plan, Smith fought back, and Wilt produced a knife, stabbing him several times.  Wilt stopped the vehicle and Smith exited onto the roadway, where a passersby would find him and call 911.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Erich Bean, who prosecuted the case “This is an example of how heroin addiction ruins lives.  Neither Wilt nor Dersin had any prior criminal history, and now must spend the bulk of the rest of their lives in prison, having taken the life of a young man.  Dersin agreed to a sentence above the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines in exchange for the State not proceeding on the first degree murder charge.  While her role was significant in the crime, Wilt chose to pull the knife and stab Mr. Smith, and his eventual parole can only be executed by the Governor of Maryland.”

The matter was investigated by the C3I Unit, Allegany County Sheriff’s Department and Cumberland City Police.  The case was also prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Karen Detrick.  Wilt was represented by Michael Stankan of the Public Defender’s Officer.  Dersin was represented by attorney Sean Gallagher.

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