2007 Homicide Solved – Hemphill at Keyser Motel

[March 1, 2011, Bel Air, MD] — Harford County Sheriff's Office detectives have solved the open homicide investigation of Robert Donte Hemphill, age 26, that occurred on August 18, 2007 in Aberdeen, MD at the Keyser Motel. "Thanks to modern day policing tools and forensic science coupled with good old fashioned, thorough police work, we were able to bring this case to a close," stated Harford County Sheriff L. Jesse Bane.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown

Mark Christian

Mark Christian

Mark Edmond Christian, age 23, of 100 block of Woodland Green Way in Aberdeen, MD and Michael Anthony Brown, age 28, of the 3400 block of Elmora Avenue in Baltimore, MD were arrested on Monday, February 28, 2011 in connection with the murder of Robert Donte Hemphill. Both Christian and Brown face the following charges: 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, assault 1st degree, assault 2nd degree and use of a handgun in a violent crime. They are currently being held without bond at the Harford County Detention Center.

Looking Back

On August 18, 2007, Harford County Sheriff's deputies responded to the Keyser Motel located in the 1300 block of Pulaski Highway in Aberdeen, MD at approximately 11:36pm to check the well-being of an occupant of the motel. Upon arrival they discovered the victim, Robert Donte Hemphill, age 26, of the same address lying on the floor of his motel room. He had been shot in the back and leg. The room where he resided had been ransacked.

Investigation has since determined that Hemphill, Christian and Brown worked together at a local wholesale establishment. It was a known fact that Mr. Hemphill did not keep his cash in a bank, but on his person. Investigators determined that Mr. Brown and Mr. Christian attempted to rob Mr. Hemphill, who was shot during the struggle.

Earlier the same date, at approximately, 3:03am on August 18, 2007, Baltimore County Police responded to Franklin Square hospital in reference to a shooting. Apparently, Mr. Brown had also suffered a gunshot wound that day. Brown told Baltimore County Police that he had been shot in the foot during a robbery that occurred in Baltimore City. Working cooperatively with Baltimore County, Baltimore City Police executed a search and seizure warrant on the location that Mr. Brown had told Baltimore County investigators that he had been shot. Through the course of the investigation, both agencies' detectives were able to determine that the story, Mr. Brown had provided to detectives was false. Eventually, Mr. Christian admitted to police that he had shot Mr. Brown accidentally in the foot. Mr. Christian's gun and Mr. Brown's clothes were submitted as evidence in connection with the reported crimes associated with Mr. Brown's gunshot wound to the foot.

While conducting standard case review in the fall of 2010, Harford County Sheriff's Office detectives recognized Christian's name as a suspect in the Hemphill homicide at the same time they were investigating his connection to a crime that had been committed in Harford County in the spring of 2010. Investigators remembered an anonymous tip that had been received at the time of the homicide suggesting Christian and Brown might somehow be involved.

Harford County Sheriff's Office detectives reached out to Baltimore County Police and Baltimore City Police to obtain the evidence their agencies had involving Brown and Christian from the shooting that was reported to Baltimore County Police on August 18, 2007. The same date as the Hemphill homicide.

Through the exceptional interagency cooperation from Baltimore City Police department and Baltimore County Police department, Harford County Sheriff's Office detectives were able to obtain forensic evidence that connected Mark Edmond Christian and Michael Anthony Brown to the murder of Robert Donte Hemphill, closing a murder investigation that had been open for almost 3 ½ years.

News Release

March 01, 2011


  • Monica Worrell

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