Bail denied for Md. woman accused of shooting husband over molestation allegations

The Maryland woman who police say shot her husband in a D.C. hotel last week over allegations he molested children at her day care will remain behind bars.

D.C. Superior Judge Sherry Trafford denied a bail request from Shanteari Weems.



Trafford also determined that there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

Weems, 50, was arrested last week at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Southwest D.C. after police said she shot her husband, James Weems Jr., in the head and leg.

She runs Lil Kidz Kastle day care in Owings Mills. Shanteari Weems has been charged with assault with intent to kill and gun-related counts.

Supporters of the day care owner are sharing the hashtag #freeshanteari on Twitter, and some of them reportedly interrupted Friday’s hearing with shouts and chants after the judge denied bail.

Detectives in Baltimore County began investigating allegations that James Weems sexually abused at least three children at the day care earlier this month month, police spokeswoman Joy Lepola-Stewart said.

Baltimore County police said Tuesday that they obtained an arrest warrant charging James S. Weems Jr., 57, of Randallstown, Maryland, with 13 sex crimes related to the abuse of at least three children at the day care in Owings Mills.

James Weems remains in custody in D.C., but will appear in Baltimore County Court next week after waiving extradition.

Hotel shooting

D.C. Police were called to the Mandarin Oriental about 7:40 p.m. on July 21 responding to reports that a man had been shot on the eighth floor.

Through the closed hotel room door, police negotiated with Shanteari Weems who, at first, refused to come out of the room. She told officers that her husband is a retired Baltimore City police officer, she threatened to shoot herself and at one point, said of her husband, “F- him, he’s a child molester,” according to court documents.

Shanteari Weems eventually surrendered. Police found a gun in her purse and another in a locked safe and handwritten notes and papers, including a letter containing an apology to her “babies,” stating, “I didn’t know.”

In an interview with detectives, Shanteari Weems said she had been told by children, parents and teachers that her husband had been molesting children at the day care.

Her lawyer, Tony N. Garcia, said his client started her business in the early 2000s and the allegations against her husband “were pretty earth-shattering.” She contends that she shot her husband when their argument turned violent and he started toward her, he said.

“She insists that she was defending herself,” Garcia said.

Baltimore County detectives said they are continuing to work closely with detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department as well as members of the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services.

A spokesperson for the Baltimore police tells WTOP that James Weems Jr. retired from the department in 2005 and continued to work as a contract specialist for the department until 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin is an anchor/reporter for WTOP. She started her career in New York City as a local TV reporter and has since covered foreign affairs and national politics as a Washington correspondent. She also anchored a nightly news show for an international network.

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