The following is a transcript of a Feb. 19 hearing in Anne Arundel County District Court where Tyrique Hudson sought a peace order against his downstairs neighbor, James Allan Verombeck. Judge Devy Patterson Russell presided over the hearing and denied a temporary peace order.
Hudson, 22, was killed April 15 and Verombeck, 53, is charged with his murder.
This transcript was prepared by The Daily Record based on an audio recording of the hearing provided by the court.
Russell: So Mr. Hudson, you received a temporary order on Feb. 16th, is that correct? And then you were served this morning?
Verombeck: I picked it up.
Russell: So, normally, in the vast majority of the cases, the respondent’s not here for the temporary order because the petitioner received an interim order from the commissioner, that was, like, after hours on the weekend, and normally, the respondent is not served by the time — the petitioner has to come back within, like, four days to get a temporary order issued by a judge. You can either come in directly and get a temporary order, um, through a judge during the work hours or, if you don’t, on the weekend or after hours you have to go to the commissioner first and then you have to go the commissioner and then before a judge.
So, in the vast majority of cases because the respondent’s not here, they don’t participate in this hearing. You’re free to participate if you’d like, if not, you can just, um, not participate and listen to me take testimony from the petitioner to see if I’ll issue a temporary. The burden of proof that he must provide the court today for a temporary peace order to be issued against you is the same that he had to provide to the commissioner: reasonable grounds. If I issue a temporary order, then the case would be scheduled for next week for a final order hearing and that burden of proof that he must sustain is much higher, therefore, you could, um, present witnesses and evidence on your behalf and gather that between now and next Monday or Tuesday if a temporary is granted and he as well, or seek legal counsel, OK? Are you pending any criminal charges in connection with whatever incident brought the petitioner in?
Verombeck: I came to the court about 11:00 today to file a criminal complaint.
Russell: You filed a criminal complaint?
Verombeck: He told me I had to go to the police station to do it. I went to the police station and I spent half an hour down there and they said I had to go back and see the commissioner and by then it was court time.
Russell: OK, but are charges pending against you? Did you file criminal charges against him?
Hudson: I went to the commissioner for the interim peace order, so I didn’t press any charges.
Russell: OK, because this is a civil case. This is considered a civil case. So, just let me know, let me hear from him first and if you want to jump in and participate that’s fine, OK?
Verombeck: Yes, your honor.
Russell: OK, so how do you know the respondent?
Hudson: So he is, um, he’s right underneath me for the apartment.
Russell: He what?
Hudson: He basically resides underneath me in the apartment, so I stay in apartment K and he —
Russell: So he lives below you?
Russell: And so what has he done within 30 days before you filed the petition, which again was on Feb. 16, and you need the additional burden of proof of but for the court issuing a temporary peace order, he’s likely to commit a prohibited act against you in the future?
Hudson: So, um, on Feb. 16 around, uh, 10:00 a.m. I went outside to take the trash out (inaudible).
Russell: Can you speak up a little?
Hudson: On Feb. 16, 2019, at 10 a.m., roughly, I was going outside to take my trash out and as I was approaching the front door to the apartment, I noticed a highlighted shirt, someone with a highlighted shirt, similar to what, um, Mr. James has, and he had quickly went out and then came back in and I noticed that something was off, so I opened the door and he was standing right above the steps and he kind of caught me off guard because this is a guy I’ve never seen before, never came in contact before, and the only thing that he was telling me was, “You knew this day was coming.”
Russell: That what?
Hudson: He said, “You knew this day was coming.” He said it multiple times with a look on his face. Um, he also said (inaudible), “You knew this day was coming, you knew what you did, you knew what you did.” And I kindly asked him: “What are you talking about? What are you referring to?” He also asked, “Aren’t you just — didn’t you just close your door?” and I said, “Yes sir, because I was trying to take the trash out.” He continuously said, “You knew this day was coming, you knew this day was coming.” After he said all those things he gave me this gesture right here.” (Hudson apparently gestures.)
Russell: He did what?
Hudson: He did that to me.
Hudson: From then on, I proceeded to call 911, um, threats were being made, um, that basically threatened my life. Just a backstory, I moved here from North Carolina about seven months ago for a job. I just want to be able to just work and be able to go into my apartment without being threatened by someone, so that’s why I’m here.
Russell: So, how, so, what started this friction?
Hudson: That’s what I’m trying to figure out, because, like I stated earlier, this is a man that I’ve never met before, even though he resides right below me in the apartment, this is someone I’ve never met before and for someone to have any kind of issue, I would hope they would come to me and just talk, neighbor to neighbor, not make threats, not to say, “You knew this day was coming,” not to give me death gestures and honestly I’ve been threatened and have been in fear of going inside and outside my apartment for the last couple of days.
Russell: You’ve what?
Hudson: I’ve been feeling fear even going to my apartment ever since that day.
Russell: Has he done anything else in addition to what happened that day?
Hudson: This was our very first encounter and that was the only encounter since then.
Russell: OK, sir, do you have any questions to ask the petitioner?
Verombeck: No. How long did we speak in that hallway? 20 seconds? 30 seconds? Roughly?
Hudson: 20 seconds, yes sir (inaudible).
Russell: Do you have anything you want to say?
Verombeck: May I address the court, your honor?
Russell: Uh huh.
Verombeck: Your honor, I found out that he was videotaping me in my home, had a hidden camera in my apartment, and I found that out. I wrote messages and taped them to my wall that he couldn’t see unless he was watching me. For four days, I didn’t do anything, after I found out.
Russell: When did you find out that he was —
Russell: — videotaping —
Verombeck: The 12th.
Russell: The 12th.
Verombeck: I was leaving one day, just to leave, and I see him walking back towards the apartment. Since I didn’t want to do anything, I turned around and went back inside to my apartment. He came in, asked, “How you doing?” and I said, “I ain’t worth a” (inaudible).
Russell: You said what?
Verombeck: I said, “I ain’t worth a.” He asked me how I was doing and I said, “I ain’t worth a,” and I didn’t cuss.
Russell: Wait, you said, “I’m not worth –”
Verombeck: I apologize, I said, “I ain’t worth a.”
Russell: Worth a?
Verombeck: Yeah, and then —
Russell: Wait. I don’t understand what your response was to the question of “How are you doing?”
Verombeck: Well, I didn’t want to use the “F” word because I don’t cuss so I said, “I ain’t worth a,” and sort of let him fill in the blank. He said, “Why is that?” I said, “Come on, you know.” He said, “I don’t have an idea.” I said, “Don’t you live right up above me?” He said, “Yes I do.” I said, “Then you should know.” He said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said, “OK.” I said, “You knew the day was coming.” And I walked into my apartment. I never made a death threat. I went (apparently gestures) because I can’t give him the finger but I can wipe my lips and that’s all I did and I walked to my apartment and that was it. It was maybe 20 seconds.
Russell: So what does wiping your lips with your finger mean?
Verombeck: It’s like giving him the bird without giving it to him.
Russell: Oh, I’ve never seen that before.
Verombeck: This way, you can’t get in trouble.
Verombeck: This way you don’t get in as much trouble as, like, flipping somebody off.
Verombeck: It’s, kind of the same thing, really, though. I mean, I pretty much flipped him off because of what he’s been doing.
Russell: And how do you know he’s been, uh, videotaping you?
Verombeck: I did things that he reacted to the only way he could have reacted to them is if he was watching me.
Russell: And what did he do to you that made you feel that he must have been watching you to do what he did? What did he do to indicate that he was watching you? Asking you how you were doing?
Verombeck: No, no. Here’s an example: If I’m in my apartment and I put on an adult DVD and I hear him walk across the floor and sit down in the living room.
Russell: And do what?
Verombeck: Sit down in the living room right above mine. And I’ll hit the stop button and I’ll go do something else and he’ll get up and walk away. And I’ll walk back in and I’ll start the DVD and he’ll walk back again and sit down. And I stop the DVD and he walked halfway to the bedroom and I started it again and he turned around and walked back, sat back down again. And he’s sitting pretty much right above me so I took —
Russell: So what does that indicate to you?
Verombeck: It indicates that he’s watching me watch my TV. This happened 20 times, at least, within a 10-minute span.
Russell: OK, but didn’t you just say to me you would turn on the DVD? Was it loud?
Verombeck: No, there was no sound at all.
Russell: Because, you know, that’s, you know —
Verombeck: There’s no sound on it.
Russell: There’s no sound?
Verombeck: No, I didn’t have the sound on because I didn’t want no other neighbors to hear me watch an adult video, so I did half sound. There’s no way he heard it. And like I said, I’d stop it, he walked halfway, I started it he turned around and sat back down.
Russell: So you’d turn it off, with no sound, just video, there’s no audio.
Russell: So when you’d turn it off, you’d do what? You’d get up?
Verombeck: No, I don’t get up, I put it on the TV and just sit there and he’ll get up from the chair and start walking down the hallway.
Russell: He will?
Russell: Down the hallway? You mean in his apartment?
Verombeck: In his apartment, correct.
Russell: In his room, overhead? Not like he’s next to you?
Verombeck: Right. I can hear him, every step anyone takes up there, I can hear.
Russell: How do you know he knows that you turned off the video?
Verombeck: Like I said, in one minute, because he’s watching me. He had a camera that he ran down through — the utility closets are all one on top of the other and the gas services run all the way from the first floor to the third floor and there’s holes. I can stick my hand up through it. If he dropped a penny and it went in a straight line, it would hit the first floor.
Russell: Uh huh, and how do you know he put a camera through there? And it’s a closet, right? So is the closet door closed?
Verombeck: It’s got openings, it’s got slats and I could stand behind and look and see through it.
Russell: But you’ve never seen, with your own eyes, this video camera?
Russell: You just kind of infer that he, because he moved around his apartment?
Verombeck: Well, I do it six times.
Russell: Six what?
Verombeck: On six different days. You know you do it one then you wait three days you do it another day and every day it’s always the same thing. Every time, like clockwork, and like I said, he’d go halfway down the hallway, if I didn’t turn it on, he’d go in the bedroom.
Russell: OK, so him allegedly watching you or watching your videos. You think he’s watching your videos?
Verombeck: I don’t know, I think it’s the TV.
Russell: So him allegedly watching the same videos you’re watching, but not listening to, how is that impacted you negatively?
Verombeck: Well, if you think someone’s watching you in your own home, you don’t feel comfortable in your home. You worry about going to the bathroom, you worry about taking a shower. You worry about even just doing anything in your house.
Russell: And that that caused you therefore to do what?
Verombeck: I didn’t do anything, I was waiting to press charges, I wanted to go down and talk to a lawyer and then I see Saturday him for probably 20 seconds, I never raised my voice, I never cussed, I never threatened him, I never stalked him.
Russell: Then he said, “How are you doing,” is that what you said? And because you thought that he was watching you watch videos and watch your videos that that justified you giving him a message?
Verombeck: Well, what was the message?
Russell: I don’t know, you tell me about the finger.
Verombeck: Oh, well, pretty much, yes. Because he kept saying, “Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and I think he does. I will highly believe he does. In fact, I’ll take a polygraph to show my conviction of belief.
Russell: Well we don’t, we don’t do polygraphs.
Verombeck: Oh. Well, that’s a shame.
Russell: Well, um, you said there’s been other things going on since he moved there? This wasn’t, like, the first incident?
Verombeck: I’ve only seen this man for 20 seconds in the hallway on the 16th. That’s it.
Russell: That was the first time?
Verombeck: Yes, your honor.
Hudson: That was my first time seeing him.
Russell: But, did you say other things have happened or was this the first and only time?
Hudson: This was the first and only time I’ve seen him.
Russell: But you’ve been there seven months.
Hudson: Right, I moved from North Carolina to here for a job.
Russell: OK, anything else you’d like to say?
Verombeck: Well, your honor, he charged me with stalking, harassment and I think threat of injury or something. I don’t know how you can justify those charges. This happened, I’ve only seen this man 20 seconds and never threatened him.
Hudson: So, the stalking and harassment, so I leaned out to go and take my trash out and I see a guy with this shirt go out and then in, I’m already trying to figure out what’s going on and then also him asking, “You stay above me, you stay in apartment K, right?” So to me, I felt as though he was watching me or in that instance watching me for some odd reason.
Russell: Well, now you know why he was asking you where you live or if you lived above him, because he has this, um, he thinks that you’ve been looking at him watch videos.
Hudson: This is incorrect.
Russell: OK, so what I’ll, how is that harassment and stalking?
Hudson: Harassment as far as, “You know what you did, you knew this day was coming,” and me simply stating, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and still don’t because, in all honesty, the idea that I’m recording and I just moved here, I never met him a day in my life, doesn’t seem right.
Russell: OK, but now you know why he is upset at you. I mean, harassment is normally a course of conduct, it’s not one isolated incident. And what’s the stalking? That’s normally a course of conduct too, it’s not one thing.
Hudson: OK. You asked me about the harassment part.
Russell: Mmhmm, and stalking.
Hudson: So, the harassment part is more of me just trying to go up to my apartment and seeing a gentleman I’ve never met before question me or accuse me of something I had no idea about, I had no idea what’s going on, especially when I never met him. And being that is my first incident, the first incident of this going on and me my first time trying to do a peace order, I just had a feeling what I believed was (inaudible).
Russell: OK, anything else?
Verombeck: Wait a second, I didn’t stop him from going anywhere. I was just walking out. When I see him coming in, I didn’t want anything to do with it. That’s why I went back to my apartment. We had a 20 second conversation and I went in my apartment. I didn’t do anything. If he wasn’t recording me, he would never —
Russell: Well, OK, you don’t have proof he’s recording you, OK?
Verombeck: I’m sorry.
Russell: Until you have proof he’s recording you, you’re not recording him, are you?
Russell: He’s not recording you. So any animosity that you’ve had towards him, he’s not recording you, OK? So this is why he was, in your opinion, what?
Hudson: Well, I didn’t want to interrupt, but I have a comment. I’m about, did you say something about me walking, you know, walking across the apartment and everything, right? So I do a lot of walking. Honestly, my mother even says the same thing, that she can always hear when I’m walking, especially when I’m on the phone with her, I do a lot of walking —
Russell: So he’s not taking pictures of you, he’s not videotaping you, or anything, he’s not watching what you’re doing, OK? OK? He’s not doing that, you don’t have proof. He walks around his apartment a lot, OK? So, you understand? That’s why he’s walking around, he’s not, as he says, and you don’t have any proof, he doesn’t have a camera down in your apartment watching you when you watch videos, OK, and turn the TV on and off. So, maybe we can be more neighborly in the future, but the court finds that you have not met your burden of proof so the request for a peace order will be denied.