UPDATE: Prentiss Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Assault

September 12, 2023

UPDATE 9/12/2023: State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling announced today that Walter Crouse Prentiss, III, 43, was sentenced to a total of 30 years in the Division of Corrections, with 15 years of active incarceration to serve in prison for his involvement in a series of domestic violence assaults.

Mr. Prentiss was convicted of assaulting a female victim in Mechanicsville, Maryland, over a span of several months in 2021.

Mr. Prentiss was sentenced as follows:

  • Assault Second Degree – sentenced to ten years, suspend all but five years active incarceration;
  • Assault Second Degree – sentenced to ten years, suspend all but five years, to run consecutive;
  • Assault First Degree – sentenced to ten years, suspend all but five years, to run consecutive; and
  • Violation of a Protective Order – sentenced to the maximum penalty of 90 days, to run concurrently.

Detective Joseph Bowling of the Criminal Investigative Division of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office was the lead investigator.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Proctor, Chief of the Special Victims Unit, prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of St. Mary’s County.

The Honorable Joseph M. Stanalonis presided over the case.

UPDATE: 1/11/2023 @ 11:45 a.m.: Police served the active arrest warrant for Prentiss on Tuesday night, January 10, 2023 and took him into custody.

Prentiss is scheduled for a court appearances hearing on 1/20/2023 at 9:15 a.m., and a jury trial set for 1/24/2023 at 9:00 a.m., in courtroom 1

Charging documents added 1/8/2023: On June 22, 2022, police spoke with the adult female victim who will be referred to as Victim throughout the article.

Victim explained she wished to report several incidents where she was previously assaulted by Walter Crouse Prentiss, III. The victim and Prentiss have resided together at their shared residence in Mechanicsville, MD.

The victim reported the first assault took place on January 17, 2021 at the residence and on this date, victim and Prentiss were engaged in a verbal argument that turned physical due to claims of infidelity, as it was believed Prentiss had been unfaithful in the marriage.

During the argument, the victim stated she attempted to separate herself from Prentiss by remaining upstairs, with him downstairs.

After Prentiss consumed an unknown amount of alcoholic beverages, he confronted her upstairs requesting sexual intercourse, which she refused.

Prentiss followed the victim as she walked into a different room where Prentiss shoved the victim against a wall and began strangling her until she became dizzy, when she was able to escape his grasp and began fleeing, Prentiss grabbed her by the back of her shirt. The victim recalled, and described to the detective she heard a lighter being lit and smelling the distinct smell of burnt hair and realized Prentiss set her hair on fire. The victim was able to extinguish her hair and fled to a bedroom and barricaded herself within the room for her safety.

On February 28, 2021, Prentiss reportedly grabbed the victim by her hair and dragged her into a bedroom where he slammed her head against a wall, and then pinned her against the wall and began strangling her until she was lightheaded.

On May 18, 2021, the victim reported Prentiss raped her. The victim said she arrived home after staying at her sisters house the previous night. She advised she did not recall seeing his vehicle when she arrived home and after a brief amount of time inside she heard Prentiss enter the residence. The victim stated she was fearful of Prentiss as he has previously told her if she came home he would kill her.

The victim stated she ran to a bedroom, locked the door and hid inside the bedroom closest and covered herself with clothing items. As she was hiding, she could hear Prentiss going through the residence looking for her and upon finding the locked bedroom door, he demanded she open/unlock the door. After a short amount of time, Prentiss proceeded to break the door down while damaging the door frame and entered the bedroom where he located her hiding in the closest.

Prentiss grabbed the victim by the hair and dragged her across the room while calling her a names and made claims of her being with other men. Prentiss then pinned the victim to the ground and placed his knee into her stomach and held her down by her shoulders and forced himself upon her and raped her, Prentiss then left the residence where Prentiss was later to claim he would no longer return to the residence if she did not call or report this to the police. The victim suffered injuries from this incident.

On August 19, 2021, the victim reported she was resting in bed watching tv when Prentiss came in and jumped on her, began holding her down and requested sexual intercourse, which she refused. While struggling to get Prentiss off of her, she was struck in the mouth/lip by his elbow causing her to bleed, which Prentiss observed and stopped his assault and all further actions and got off of her and claimed the strike was accidental.

On September 4, 2021, the victim arrived home and before being able to exit her vehicle, Prentiss approached and grabbed her by the hair and dragged her out of the vehicle into the front yard of their residence.

The victim was able to break free and began running towards her vehicle to escape Prentiss who proceeded to throw a glass beer bottle at her which struck her in the ankle and caused her to fall to the ground. She attempted to stand up but was unable to, leading her to believe her ankle was broken, she began crawling away while Prentiss approached and proceeded to grab her and began hitting her head against the concrete while instructing her to get up, which she was unable to do.

The victim sought medical attention where it was discovered she suffered an avulsion fracture to her ankle along with lacerations. She received multiple stiches and a medical boot which had to be worn for approximately 7 weeks.

The last incident was reported to have taken place on October 3, 2021. During this incident the victim and Prentiss were arguing over his drinking of alcohol when he approached her, grabbed her by her tank top straps and ripped the shirt off of her, the victim called a friend during this incident and claimed the friend would call the police, it was at this time Prentiss stopped the assault and fled the residence.

Police made contact with Prentiss on July 22, 2022 via telephone where he was informed that various allegations were made and he was requested to speak in person to discuss the matter. Prentiss explained he would speak with his attorney to set up the possibility of an interview. Contact was then made with his attorney, Hammad Matin P.A., via telephone and was informed his client Walter Prentiss, was alleged to committed several criminal acts. Matin explained he would consult his client and contact the officer later to arrange a time and location to meet.

On July 23, 2022, Matin left a voicemail to the officer explaining his client Prentiss would not be willing to speak regarding any of the alleged incidents.

It was noted, the victim did not proceed with any police reports or charges file as she was fearful of Prentiss and had no safe location to ensure her safety. Furthermore, a final protective order was in place having been served on December 20, 2021, which was in effect until December 11, 2022, Prentiss violated the order on March 3, 2022, Prentiss was charged for that incident.

Officers noted the whereabouts of Prentiss were unknown as he was actively changing locations to avoid police interactions and was last known residing in Anne Arundel County, however, he left the residence as police were seeking his person to serve legal paperwork.

Prentiss has previously arrests and indictments for Theft $1,000 to under $10,000, Open Container, Theft, Fraud, Burglary, Motor Vehicle Unlawful Taking, Assault 2nd Degree,, Malicious Property Destruction and Driving While Impaired.

12/28/2022: The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the whereabouts of Walter Crouse Prentiss, age 42 of no fixed address, who is wanted for violating the conditions of his Pre-Trial Release and removing his GPS monitor.

Prentiss was incarcerated at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center for First-Degree Rape; three counts of First-Degree Assault, three counts of Second-Degree Assault and Malicious Destruction of Property, following an indictment which was filed on August 8, 2022. An arrest warrant was served on August 23, 2022.

According to court documents, Prentiss failed to show up at a December 9, 2022 court date. He was released on September 6, 2022 on a $500 cash bond

Anyone with information on Prentiss’ whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Joseph Bowling at 301-475-4200, ext. 71959 or email [email protected].

Citizens may remain anonymous and contact Crime Solvers at 301-475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.

Walter Crouse Prentiss, age 42 of no fixed address