A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered continued detention Friday for the Baltimore County woman accused of shooting her husband last week in a hotel in Washington, D.C.
Judge Sherry M. Trafford said in a preliminary hearing that Shanteari Weems’ decision making gave her “great concern” and said Weems should not be released before her next court appearance, set for Aug. 9.
The decision prompted outcry on the hearing’s virtual platform, with attendees calling out, “What if that was your grandkid?” and “Free Ms. Weems!” At least 80 people were signed into the virtual WebEx call.
Weems, 50, of Randallstown, was arrested July 21 for allegedly shooting her husband at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington and has been charged with assault with intent to kill and assault with a dangerous weapon.
She told police she shot her husband because she believed he’d molested children at her day care, Lil Kidz Kastle in Owings Mills, according to charging documents.
Her husband, James S. Weems Jr., 57, now faces criminal charges in Baltimore County of sexual abuse involving a minor, sexual offenses and assault. Officials issued an arrest warrant for him July 25, four days after the shooting. He has yet to appear in Baltimore County Court, but a D.C. prosecutor said Friday that the county planned to pick him up on Monday.
Shanteari Weems’ day care had been closed by state officials on July 20, a day prior to the pair’s altercation, according to a former employee and emergency suspension letter provided to The Baltimore Sun. The letter, written by a regional manager with the Maryland Department of Education’s Office of Child Care, said the emergency suspension was due to “noncompliance with the child care regulations.”
Baltimore County Police have said they began to investigate James Weems “earlier this month.”
Tony Garcia, an attorney for Shanteari Weems, argued she should be released with electronic monitoring to a third party’s home pending trial to assist in her defense. Garcia called the shooting a “split-second decision” made when her husband came toward her.
Court filings stated Shanteari Weems told police she didn’t intend to kill her husband. She told them a conversation between the two escalated to an argument. At one point, he stood up and started to “go towards” her, she said, and she shot him.
“She’s not a fighter,” Garcia said of his client, who appeared in the courtroom on Friday in an orange jumpsuit and wearing a white mask.
Court filings said police recovered two shell casings, two firearms and a notebook from the hotel room where the shooting took place. The notebook included messages that said “I’m going to shoot” James “but not kill him.”
The victim, James Weems, is not named in the records. The notebook went on to say, according to court records, “I want these kids to get justice” and “you gonna pay.” It also had an apology to her “babies” and “I didn’t know.”
The D.C. prosecutor on Friday called the alleged shooting a dangerous, violent crime and requested continued detention.
A Metropolitan Police detective, Andrew Gong, testified Friday that Shanteari Weems told police the couple hadn’t had domestic violence incidents in the past, and that when she’s previously visited D.C., she hasn’t brought a firearm.
She told police, according to Gong, she was “confused” about the situation in Maryland. But, he said, she didn’t express fear.
Trafford granted the prosecution’s request, and found probable cause for Weems’ criminal charges.
The community may consider the reason Weems confronted her husband, Trafford said, but said people have conflicts for “all variety of reasons.” Weems chose to take on the responsibility of confronting him, which resulted in her shooting him, despite her husband’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, Trafford said.
The attorneys agreed on a future court date of Aug. 9.
“Be ashamed of yourself,” one attendee called out after the judge’s decision.
“Y’all ain’t got no heart. None,” another said.