Maryland judge commits suicide to avoid federal charges

Image Credit: Leah Millis/Reuters

Accused of sexually exploiting
children, a Maryland judge was recently found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot
wound before federal investigators could arrest him.

On July 23, a boy that Caroline
County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Newell took on a hunting trip on Hoopers
Island discovered a hidden
in the bathroom. After the boy told his parents about the camera,
they immediately reported it to the police.

On July 24, the police raided Judge
Newell’s home, judicial office, and truck. They allegedly found a hard drive in
Newell’s den that contained several videos of boys showering, Newell checking a
boy’s nude body for ticks, and images of Newell setting up the camera.

According to law enforcement
officials, Newell attempted to destroy evidence by eating the memory card from
his camera. After police took Newell to a hospital, they obtained a warrant to
have a CT scan performed, which revealed a “foreign object” had been ingested.

Two days later, Judge Newell took a
paid leave of absence. Last week, he extended the leave to September 23.

Shortly after 6 a.m. on Friday, FBI
agents arrived at Newell’s house to arrest him on federal charges of sexual
exploitation of a child. Neighbors reportedly heard a gunshot
from inside the house before the FBI agents entered.

Later that day, the U.S. Attorney’s
Office released the following statement:
“This morning agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation went to the
residence of Jonathan Newell, age 50, of Henderson, Maryland, to arrest him on
a federal criminal complaint filed on September 9, 2021. Upon entering the
residence the agents found Newell suffering from an apparent self-inflicted
gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at 6:43 a.m. Maryland State Police will
lead the investigation into the apparent suicide.”

Appointed to the bench in 2016,
Newell was elevated to a 15-year
in 2018. He had also been a leading prosecutor in the county since


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