This story was updated at 10:15 p.m. Sept. 9, 2021, to add comments from members of the victims’ families and State’s Attorney John McCarthy
A Montgomery County jury on Thursday convicted a Silver Spring man of murdering two men in White Oak more than two years ago in connection with what authorities said was a drug robbery.
Andy Panton, now 22, was one of three men Montgomery County police charged with killing Jordan Radway, 23, of Laurel, and Christian Roberts, 24, of Silver Spring on Jan. 28, 2019.
Dontaye Hunt and Noah Barnett, both 21 and from Silver Spring, were also charged.
Police got a call about a vehicle crash in the 11600 block of Stewart Lane that day and found a 1994 Honda Accord that had crashed into multiple parked vehicles.
Radway and Roberts were found dead inside the Honda. A medical examiner determined that they had been shot twice from the same gun, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Police determined that Radway was communicating with Barnett about trying to set up a marijuana sale for $600 between Radway and Hunt, who knew Barnett.
Hunt and Radway then planned to meet on Castle Boulevard in Fairland between 6 and 6:45 p.m. that day for the deal, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Radway later suggested to Roberts in a text message that the drug deal didn’t happen because Hunt didn’t have the money and that Hunt was working with someone else. Radway and Hunt then planned to meet on Stewart Lane in White Oak later that night.
Around 8:30 p.m., neighbors told police they heard gunshots. Police were called to the scene for the report of a crash.
Police later arrested Hunt on a warrant in connection with the killings of Radway and Roberts. Authorities said he told investigators that he set up the drug deal with Radway.
Police said Hunt told them that he and an accomplice were armed and that they were sitting in the back of the Honda when the accomplice, who he didn’t name, shot the two victims.
Police later identified Panton as the accomplice from Metrobus surveillance footage, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Footage showed Panton and Hunt boarding a bus in White Oak to go to Castle Boulevard around 5:45 p.m. that day to go to the site of the drug deal that didn’t happen, then leaving on another bus an hour later.
Hunt and Barnett told investigators that the plan was to rob Radway and Roberts, but Hunt said shooting them was not the plan, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Barnett told police that at some point in the evening, Panton told him that he had shot the two victims.
Hunt and Panton gave Barnett an ounce of marijuana they had stolen, according to police.
Panton was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder Thursday, along with robbery and weapons charges, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. He faces two consecutive life sentences.
Panton’s attorney, Michael Lawlor, did not immediately respond to a voice-mail message Thursday afternoon seeking comment.
Barnett and Hunt have both pleaded guilty to robbery charges and await sentencing this fall, court records indicate.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy told reporters Thursday afternoon that the case was originally tried in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting, and it ended in a hung jury.
The second trial, which concluded Thursday, was the first murder trial to take place in the courthouse since it reopened during the pandemic.
McCarthy reiterated a common thread he has noticed in drug-related homicides in Montgomery County.
“I cannot think of … a drug-related homicide in the last five years where the drug was not marijuana,” he said.
Peter Radway and Donald Roberts, the fathers of the two victims, also spoke briefly. Each family has established a family foundation in their son’s memory.
The Christian Roberts Foundation, Donald Roberts said, was started in his son’s memory to give shoes, clothes and other supplies to the homeless in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. — something his son did while attending Stevenson University in Baltimore County.
Jordan’s Way, a nonprofit, honors Radway by working to end youth gun violence in the greater Washington area and create partnerships with schools and youth programs.
“He loved everything about education. He tutored inner-city kids in Baltimore City. He just always had that spirit of giving,” Radway’s father said on Thursday.
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com