(Dec. 7, 2018) Worcester County Interim State’s Attorney Bill McDermott is moving on in January, with the arrival of new State’s Attorney Kris Heiser, but not far — he’s accepted a position as deputy state’s attorney in Wicomico County.
McDermott was named as interim in February after former Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby was appointed to a judgeship in Worcester Circuit Court by Gov. Larry Hogan.
In June, McDermott lost to Heiser in the Republican primary election by a vote tally of 2,606 to 2,431.
“Wicomico has seen some tough years,” he said. “They have a lot of interesting issues over there and there’s certainly an opportunity to make an impact.”
A native of Snow Hill, McDermott was quickly on board when Wicomico County State’s Attorney-elect Jamie Dykes offered a comparable position.
“When you grow up in Snow Hill, Wicomico County ends being just as much as a home to you [as Worcester,]” he said. “[Wicomico is] a big shop [and] they’re double the size of the Worcester County State’s Attorney.”
While looking ahead to upcoming challenges, McDermott retains a sense of pride regarding the record he compiled during his eight years as assistant, and later deputy, state’s attorney in Worcester.
“We’ve had a 22 percent decrease in crime,” he said. “I’ve been thrilled to be a part of that and now I’m really excited to … hopefully start making a difference in Wicomico County.”
While acknowledging residents of the Eastern Shore sister counties share values, McDermott noted Wicomico has higher rates of serious crime.
“There are more serious violent crimes over there,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of homicides [and] I’m really eager to roll up my sleeves and start working on those.”
While in Worcester, McDermott successfully prosecuted 21 homicide cases.
“We’ve never lost a homicide [and] how many jurisdictions can say we’ve never lost a homicide,” he said. “That’s a breadth of experience I’m going to take over there.”
McDermott said several current Worcester County prosecutors have accepted offers to join the lineup in Wicomico.
“There are other prosecutors who are going over there as well,” he said. “I’m excited to stay with part of the team that we built here.”
In addition to establishing precedent, such as being the first Maryland jurisdiction to successfully pursue negligent manslaughter charges stemming from drug overdose deaths, McDermott hopes to leave a legal legacy that continues.
“This county has been the beneficiary of … exceptional prosecutorial [and] … law enforcement work,” he said. “I hope that Kris Heiser carries on that tradition and that level of service continues forever because it’s my home.”