News Release, Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office

On Monday, April 29, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier sentenced Ijaaz Butler, 26, to 12 years in prison for Home Invasion and Conspiracy to Commit Home Invasion. The sentence imposed today in Charles County Circuit Court will run consecutive to a 12-year sentence previously imposed for a similar crime in Calvert County, for a total of 24 years in prison.

On October 10, 2018, Butler entered a guilty plea to the above-mentioned charges.

On March 19, 2018, officers responded to the 2800 block of Homette Place in Waldorf for the report of a home invasion. Upon arrival, officers spoke with victim Melissa Lewis, who had visible injuries. Lewis stated that two male suspects forced entry into her home, assaulted her, and demanded money.

A further investigation revealed that Lewis received a large sum of money prior to the home invasion. On the day of the incident, the victim was asleep on a couch in her home when Butler and the other male suspect, who the victim later identified as co-defendant William Gary Edwards, entered with their faces partially covered. Butler and Edwards physically assaulted the victim and asked her where the money was located; however, the victim refused to reveal where it was. The victim’s three young children were also present inside of the residence. While ransacking the home, Butler banged on the door of the children’s rooms while the victim was being held down by Edwards.

After a few minutes inside the residence, Butler and Edwards dragged the victim outside to search her vehicle. While outside, they assaulted the victim – to include dousing her with gasoline – until she was unconscious. Butler and Edwards then fled in a getaway vehicle operated by co-defendant Brandy Lynn Deluca.

Shortly after leaving, Deluca hit a mailbox and was stopped by an officer for a traffic violation. It was discovered during the stop that the occupants of the vehicle were involved in the home invasion. All three suspects, including Butler, were subsequently apprehended.

During sentencing, Assistant State’s Attorney John A. Stackhouse, asking for the maximum consecutive sentence, told the judge that he hopes the victim “can feel safe again in her own home with her kids” after the terrifying incident.

On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, co-defendant Brandy Deluca was sentenced by Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West to 7 years in prison.

On Thursday, February 21, 2019, co-defendant William Gary Edwards was also sentenced by Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West to 10 years in prison, consecutive to a 2-year sentence previously imposed for a similar crime in Calvert County, for a total of 12 years in prison.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...