On Thursday, Jan. 5, Ricky Raheem Charles, 32, was sentenced to a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2019 murder of Melissa Lynn West.
Charles was sentenced by the Hon. Andrew Battista in Baltimore County Circuit Court for first degree premeditated murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.
West was shot in front of her residence, 509 Fairview Ave., on Sept. 21, 2019 around 6:20 p.m. After a search that lasted nearly 90 days, Charles was taken into custody on Dec. 12, 2019.
Charles’s charging document said that Baltimore County Police officers from 12th Precinct were dispatched to Fairview Avenue for a shooting. When they arrived, they found a woman in the road suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The document said West was transported to Bayview Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased at 6:58 p.m.
An investigation was opened by the Baltimore County Police Department Homicide and Missing Persons Unit. According to the document, one witness told investigators they saw West turn onto Avondale Avenue, where a blue Dodge SUV was parked in the road. According to the witness, West told the driver, Charles, not to park in the middle of the street. Charles shouted back at West to pull over.
West continued driving on Avondale towards Fairview Avenue, according to the witness. According to the document, the witness observed Charles make a U-turn and drive toward Fairview Avenue, where he lost sight of the vehicle. He later heard gunshots, he told police.
According to the document, investigators talked to witnesses on Fairview Avenue. Those witnesses told investigators they heard West yell at Charles not to spit on her, followed by two gunshots. Witnesses said they observed Charles flee the scene in a blue Dodge SUV, heading toward Eastern Avenue.
As part of the investigation, BCPD homicide detectives were able to track surveillance video from the area of the incident to identify the vehicle and Charles, authorities said, adding that a witness testified that Charles acknowledged killing West and said “he spit on her after he shot her.”
Police located saliva on West’s face which was later matched to the DNA of Charles. When he was arrested, Charles acknowledged being in the area at the time and location of the shooting, officials confirmed.
According to the document, Charles traveled on North Point Road near Nordbruch Road and completed what was believed by investigators to be a drug transaction with another individual.
Surveillance footage showed the Dodge Journey travel directly toward the murder scene. Investigators were able to obtain Charles’ address on Lyndale Avenue, where he lives with a girlfriend. Surveillance was initiated at the residence beginning in October and ending before the arrest. According to the document, investigators were able to confirm that Charles drives a blue Dodge Journey, which belongs to his girlfriend’s grandmother.
According to the document, a search warrant was executed on Dec. 12 at the residence. Two loaded handguns were found under a mattress in an upstairs bedroom. A piece of residency paper belonging to Charles was found in the same room.
According to the document, another search warrant was executed the same day at the girlfriend’s mother’s residence in Bel Air, Maryland. The Dodge Journey was parked outside. Police transported Charles to the Homicide and Missing Persons Unit to be interviewed. He elected to waive his Miranda Rights and talk to investigators.
According to the document, Charles denied he lives on Lyndale Avenue and gave investigators an address on Surgarwood Circle in Essex. Charles told police that at the time of the murder, he was at a friend’s residence to help that friend clean his house. The friend’s residence is on Belmont Avenue, according to the document, according to the crime scene. Charles told investigators his friend took him home in a Chevy Silverado.