A Baltimore Circuit Court jury has begun deliberations in the case of Eugene Dale, the 33-year-old man who is accused of raping 12-year-old Andrea Perry and shooting her in the back of her head two years ago.
The case went to the jury of six men and six women yesterday afternoon after prosecutor Donald J. Giblin brushed off defense suggestions that Dale was a victim of a shoddy police investigation.
"Let's get one thing straight here," Giblin said, holding up Andrea's picture. "You see this little girl here. Her name is Andrea Perry. She's the victim in this case. She was the one who got her brains blown out."
Dale is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape. Conviction could result in a sentence of death in the gas chamber.
Andrea Perry, who was a seventh-grader at Harlem Park Middle School, was taken into a trash-strewn alley in the 1800 block of W. Baltimore St., raped and shot once in the head on Oct. 12, 1988.
Donning a new gold-braided hairstyle, the girl was on her way home after walking her sister to a bus stop on the night she was killed.
Dale was in the alley off West Baltimore Street when the girl's body was found. Darryl Sydnor, who worked in the area, testified that Dale stopped him on the street and told him there was a body in the alley. Sydnor said Dale told him he heard a gunshot the night before.
A police ballistic expert testified that Dale's .32-caliber Harrington & Richardson revolver was used to kill Andrea Perry. Police found the gun -- hidden in a linen closet -- in Dale's home in the first block of S. Gilmor St.
DNA tests of the sperm found in the victim's body matched Dale's blood, genetic experts testified. Defense experts raised questions about the quality of the tests linking Dale to the alleged rape and the standards of the New York state lab, Life Codes Corp., which conducted them.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Ilene J. Nathan outlined a series of contradictory statements the defendant allegedly made to police and friends after Andrea Perry's death.
Rosalind Johnson, the woman who lived with Dale, testified that Dale had gone out about 10 p.m. on Oct. 12, 1988, to buy marijuana. Johnson said Dale returned more than an hour later and told her that he had seen a girl being dragged into an alley, but that he "didn't want to get involved."
Detectives testified that Dale told them that two men had borrowed his gun to "scare somebody" the night of the shooting and that he later heard a gunshot. Dale also tried to implicate Rosalind Johnson's brother, Rodney, telling detectives he had seen Rodney take the girl into the alley.
"On Oct. 13, 1988, the evidence started with Eugene Dale and it ends with Eugene Dale here in this courtroom," Nathan said.
Defense lawyer M. Cristina Gutierrez said the homicide investigation into the girl's death was sloppy -- based on hunches, guesses and assumptions. "They hid the truth," she said.
She tried to raise doubts about whether the Perry girl was raped. Dale would have to be convicted of murder and rape in order to be eligible for a death sentence. Prosecutor argued that Dale raped the girl and then killed her so she wouldn't identify him.
Moments before the case was given to the jurors, Giblin told them: "The defense in this case has been nothing but a smoke screen. Ladies and gentlemen, take the time to push away the smoke and look into the heart of the fire."