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Following the killing of an HBCU graduate at the hands of his white neighbor, it was revealed the victim had previously tried to prevent his own death. Now thousands were calling for the removal of the judge who denied a protective order to Tyrique Hudson, who was shot and killed by James Verombeck in Maryland on April 15.

Hudson, a 22-year-old graduate of North Carolina A&T University, was killed in the stairwell of his apartment building just outside of Baltimore. He had filed a formal report after an earlier incident where Verombeck, 53, threatened to kill him and a protective order was granted. District Court Judge Devy Patterson Russell later voided the order. A petition on has garnered nearly 14,000 signatures in an effort to get Russell’s removed from the bench.

The Capital Gazette reported that Hudson wrote that after he took the trash out Feb. 16 and was walking up the stairwell, Verombeck said “you knew this day was coming” before giving him a “death gesture” by sliding his thumb across his throat. Russell denied the protective order claiming Hudson did not “meet the burden of proof” as this was just one incident and not a pattern of behavior. Yet the petition shows this was not Verombeck’s first run-in with protective orders.

According to the online petition, electronic records show that Verombeck was arrested in 2010 for violating a protective order. In 2009 a protective order was issued regarding domestic violence and in 1996, he was charged with reckless endangerment, concealing a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct in a public place and having an unregistered rifle or shotgun. While the other charges were dropped, he was found guilty on the latter charge.

“I feel like they’ve failed my son,” Hudson’s mother, Tonya Burch told CBS Baltimore on Thursday April 18.“They failed me. He had a bright and promising future.”

Hudson had moved to Maryland last summer to begin his promising career as a software engineer after graduating early. He had recently begun working for Northrop Grumman. On the day he was killed he was preparing to move into a new building because he feared for his life.

Russell has been placed on temporary assignment as the Maryland Court of Appeals decides if she should face suspension for her actions. According to the Capital Gazette, the Commission on Judicial Disabilities suggested Russell be suspended for six months, saying she violated state law and failed to keep up with administrative work. The Baltimore Sun has reported that she has also been accused of screaming at other judges, pushing a staffer and neglecting more than 100 search warrants.

Verombeck was arrested after a 10-hour standoff with SWAT and has been charged with first-degree murder.


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