A 20 year wait for closure: Murder cold case ends in conviction
Dorchester County, Md. – In June of 2001, corrections officer Gregory Collins was killed driving home from work, at Eastern Correctional Institution.
20 years later, his killer has been convicted.
Prosecutors believe the killer, John Ingersoll, acted on orders from a gang that operated from within the prison to carry out a hit on Collins, who had refused to be engaged in criminal activity.
Prosecutors told 47ABC it was a case they didn’t think they could make; until someone, with new evidence, came forward.
“This is an example of how cases never end, they never go away, they are always being pursued or worked on in some degree,” said Dorchester County State’s Attorney Bill Jones.
He said when his team, including Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Ella Disharoon, were presented with the evidence, they were determined to push for a conviction.
“We all sat down and talked about the new information, ultimately they presented that case to us, and I turned to Ella and said I leave it up to you if you think there’s enough here to charge, I think trusted her and that she did think it was enough to charge,'” Jones said.
A guilty verdict in the case came down on Monday, after an hour and a half of jury deliberation.
Collins’ widow, Lena Collins Williams thanked the entire legal team and law enforcement in a statement to 47 ABC that reads :
“After twenty years of living in the dark, our family has finally found peace of mind. Of course, there have been times we thought justice would never be served, but we never lost hope. This had been a senseless and cowardice act that took a father, husband and son. There are no words to describe how grateful we are to the State’s Attorneys’ Office, Maryland State Police (retired and active) and the Correctional Officers (retired and active) who have given us endless support throughout the whole process. Justice was served.”
Jones told 47ABC that the pressure to solve the case after 20 years weighed heavy on him and his team.
“Hearing those words I can tell you that for me, one of the hardest parts of this case was looking at Lena and her daughter Sydney because we were doing this for them,” he said adding “All the praise should go to the family who waited so long for this case to be solved.”
Jones wants the case to raise awareness, that cold cases are often one piece of crucial evidence away from being solved.
He wants people to know they should come forward if they know something pertaining to a cold case.
“Big cases- homicides we’re right there were almost at that point where you have enough to charge and what can happen is someone might have that piece we are looking for,” Jones said.