Bowie man sentenced to 50 years for 2020 killing of woman shot in home while reading Bible

A Maryland man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the 2020 New Year’s Day killing of a woman in her home who was reading her Bible at the time.

On Friday, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy announced that 27-year-old Sammie Warren was sentenced for the Jan. 1, 2020, killing of 56-year-old Filomena Vasquez while she was sitting in the kitchen of her Hyattsville home and reading her Bible in preparation for a sermon on the radio.

Around 11:30 p.m. that night, Warren walked up to the front of Vazquez’s house in the 7400 block of Varnum Street and fired into a window, a wall and a vehicle. Vazquez was struck by several rounds and died at the scene, officials said.

“He went to Filomena’s house and shot it up over a car,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Brenna Bush in a statement. “This is the type of gun wielding, emotional person the defendant is. He goes from zero to one hundred using deadly violence.”

Former county police chief Hank Stawinski said an open Bible was found on the kitchen table where Vasquez was sitting, and he believed she was having a quiet moment of reflection after a holiday spent celebrating with her family.

The shooting allegedly stemmed from a dispute between Warren and Vasquez’ then-29-year-old son over a faulty car sale a week prior. Warren tried to get his money back after the car stopped working, but when Vasquez’ son refused to refund him, Warren began making threats against the family.

“No one anticipates that a quiet New Year’s Day at home could tragically end in loss of life,” Braveboy said. “Ms. Vazquez was in the privacy of her home, simply reading her Bible when this happened, which is heartbreaking. I am gratified that we have once again, upheld justice in this case by securing the appropriate sentence for her. Mr. Warren will spend considerable time behind bars, ensuring that he is unable to inflict harm upon anyone else in this community.”

Warren was sentenced on second degree murder and firearms charges and was sentenced to 65 years with all but 50 suspended.

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Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is a freelance digital writer/editor at WTOP. She is a recent graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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