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Life and Death in Germantown: The Tragic Tale of Valentino Pritchett

Maria Doyle Billups moved to Germantown from Woodbridge Township, New Jersey in 2011 with the hope of creating a better life for herself, her daughter and sons. She wanted a fresh start.

She picked Germantown because it was affordable and the school system was among the best in the nation. “I wanted a better life for my boys and me,” she said. When the family moved, her son Valentino was 11 years old. Last October, Valentino took his own life as police moved in to arrest him on charges of murdering one of his best friends and separate charges of attempted murder of another man. He died in the back of an Uber car, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, alone and scared less than 1,000 feet from the Germantown townhouse where he lived with his mother, younger brother, and step-father.

The unfortunate series of events that led to an 18-year-old having a handgun and tragically ending two lives are a combination of poor choices, misfortune, and lack of opportunity.

The Valentino Pritchett story ends at the corner of Mateny Road and Great Seneca Highway on Wednesday, October 25 in the back of a blue Nissan driven by an Uber driver who thought he was taking his fare to Frederick. The Uber picked up Valentino at the townhouse on Harmony Woods Lane in Germantown.

What the Uber driver didn’t know was that his fare was being watched