Supreme Court Refuses To Review Sherman Case

November 04, 1990|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Lawyers representing Timothy S. Sherman, convicted in June 1988 of killing his parents, say they will continue to press for a new trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review the case. On Oct. 25, a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge denied Sherman's petition for a new trial.

Sherman, now 21, is serving two consecutive life sentences for the murders of his parents, Elizabeth and Stevenson. They were shot to death while sleeping in their home on Oct. 12, 1987.

Sherman was convicted of two counts each of murder, attempted murder and assault with intent to murder after a highly publicized two-week trial that ended on June 7, 1988.

The Supreme Court let stand Sherman's conviction. Justices Thurgood Marshall and Byron R. White voted to review the case. Four votes are needed to grant such a review.

In appealing the case, Sherman's lawyers claim that a juror made an unauthorized visit to the Sherman family's home. The juror, Blaine Miller, and his wife went to look at the house and a tree where the murder weapon -- a shotgun -- was found.

Since filing the appeal, Sherman's attorneys learned that Miller shared the information about his visit with the other jurors, a violation of the state jury code, said Stuart J. Robinson, one of the attorneys.

Robinson and Michael Bromwich, another attorney, say they will ask the high court to reconsider its decision.

In the Baltimore County petition, Robinson and Bromwich contended that Harford Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill rushed the jury to deliver a verdict because of concerns over a hung jury and the cost of another trial.

Robinson and Bromwich also asserted that Whitfill was not living in Harford County at the time of Sherman's trial, making him ineligible to hear the case.

But Baltimore County Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz denied the petition, saying that the evidence presented in the case proves that Whitfill did not engage in misconduct.

"This court finds that the errors alleged by the petitioner, which would entitle him to post conviction relief, have not been proved and/or are without merit," Levitz wrote. "The serious allegations made against Judge Whitfill have not been supported by the credible evidence."

Robinson and Bromwich relied on testimony by three jurors who said Whitfill visited the jury room during deliberations. Levitz said in the 11-page ruling that he did not believe their testimony.

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