Salisbury Man Sentenced for Attempted Murder

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24-year-old Markell Purnell faces a total active sentence of 40-years in prison for Attempted First Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm in a Crime of Violence. The sentencing is connected to an altercation that occurred in the early morning hours of October 23rd, 2021. The incident happened outside of Guido’s Burritos on South Salisbury Boulevard in Salisbury. According to the investigation, Purnell fired multiple rounds hitting the victim, who was standing close to other patrons leaving the restaurant. A single bullet struck the victim in the right leg, and projectiles hit several vehicles nearby. Purnell will have to serve at least 35 years of his sentence until he is eligible for parole. Purnell will be on supervised probation for five years upon his release.

Additional Information from the Press Release

On December 9, 2022, Markell Purnell, aged 24, of Salisbury, was sentenced by the Honorable Donald C.
Davis, Senior Judge of the Circuit Court for Wicomico County, to Life imprisonment with all but 25 years
suspended for Attempted First Degree Murder. Purnell was sentenced to an additional 15 years for Use of a
Firearm in a Crime of Violence and for possessing a handgun when prohibited, for a total active sentence of
40 years. Purnell will be ineligible for parole until he has served at least 35 years of his sentence. Purnell
will be on supervised probation for five years upon his release. Purnell was found guilty on September 27,
2022 after a two-day jury trial presided over by Judge Davis. Sentencing had been deferred pending receipt
of a Pre-Sentence Investigation. Purnell remained in custody pending sentencing.
In the early morning hours of October 23, 2021, Purnell and another co-defendant became involved in an
altercation with patrons outside of Guido’s Burritos on South Salisbury Boulevard in Salisbury. In a
suspected attempt to seek retaliation connected to the previous fisticuffs, a third co-defendant provided a
handgun to Purnell, who immediately fired multiple rounds at the victim, who was standing in close proximity
to other patrons leaving the establishment. The victim was struck by a single bullet in his right leg. Several
other vehicles were also struck by projectiles. No one else was injured and the victim was treated and released
from Tidal Health hospital. Purnell was prohibited from possessing a handgun at the time of this offense
because of a prior conviction.
Wicomico County State’s Attorney (SA) Jamie Dykes said “This sentence should send a message to those
who perpetrate such crimes that their actions will not go unpunished.” SA Dykes commended Det. J. Hicks
of the Salisbury Police Department (SPD) Criminal Investigation Division, the lead investigator on the case,
and other members of SPD, for their work in the investigation. SA Dykes also commended Senior Assistant
State’s Attorney D. Scott Messersmith, who prosecuted the case.


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