The WMAR television station in Towson got a big surprise last week when a man claiming to be God rammed a box truck into the front of the studio – talk about a terrible Tuesday. Vladimir Baptiste is the name of the man who is responsible for this incident. Happily, nobody inside was injured and Baptiste managed to live Tweet throughout the ordeal. The station was evacuated, with the exception of one man, who barricaded himself in the basement. Baptiste made it up to the second floor and stayed there as the story unfolded. Since he was only a few miles from a school and multiple businesses, many people were put on alert to keep an eye out in case the incident wasn’t isolated. Luckily, Baptiste was operating on his own and of his own accord.
Once it was determined that Baptiste was the lone threat, police began to do some more digging into the event. Baptiste allegedly stole the truck from the State Highway Administration where they were removing plants near the site of WMAR. He drove himself to the station and shook the doors, yelling about being God. When a security guard refused to let him in, he went back to his truck and then drove it through the lobby of WMAR. He is now being held in a Baltimore County jail with numerous felony charges hanging over his head. These include 3 charges of attempted second-degree murder, burglary, and malicious destruction of property – that’s a pretty severe list that could carry a heavy prison sentence. His bail is set at $750,000 as of now and he still doesn’t have an attorney. While he’s going to need the best criminal defense lawyer that he can find, he might be able to mitigate these charges with an insanity plea – since he believes he is God. When contemplating an insanity plea the defense puts the state on notice that they intend to utilize this defense and then the defense and the state will have the defendant examined by a expert to determine if he is really mentally infirm or if he is just a typical felon. Many times the experts will not agree as to the state of mind of the defendant and then there will be a hearing either by a judge or potentially a jury to determine if the defendant should be found “not guilty by reason of insanity.” The threshold question in an insanity plea that the fact finder must determine is “at the time of the criminal action, did the defendant know right from wrong.” In this case, since the defendant was fairly certain that he was God when he allegedly drove a truck through the TV station, that may shed some light on his mental state at the time of the offense.
The station employees are still shaken up and there will need to be some rebuilding, but fortunately none of the damage that Baptiste caused was permanent or fatal. If you have any questions about murder charges or criminal defense representation in Maryland, give Bruce Robinson & Associates a call at 443.524.7395 or visit our website. We’re here to help when you need it most. Call today for your free consultation, anytime day or night.