A 17-year-old Baltimore youth has pleaded guilty to murdering and robbing a school teacher to get money to buy cocaine.
With his mother sobbing in Baltimore Circuit Court yesterday, Derrick Antonio Allbrook entered his guilty plea before Judge Ellen M. Heller. The state is recommending life plus 20 years when he is sentenced Jan. 20.
Allbrook, of the 5100 block of Nelson Ave., had turned down the plea offer earlier yesterday. But his lawyer, Elizabeth Julian, returned two hours later and told the judge her client had "changed his mind" after consulting with his family and her.
The plea involved the robbery and slaying of Jerome C. McDaniel, 46, a teacher at Ashburton Elementary School, Oct. 20, 1989. The body was found in Druid Hill Park near the city zoo's Reptile House, an area frequented by homosexual men.
Also accused in the case is Timothy Maurice Jones, 20.
Jury selection in Jones' trial was expected to begin today.
Allbrook, under the terms of his plea agreement, last night gave police a statement which could be used against Jones in court.
The defendants also were charged with the murder and robbery of a 41-year-old man near the Reptile House Dec. 26, 1988. Prosecutor Sharon Holback said the state may elect to drop those charges against Allbrook depending on his cooperation.
In a statement to police last year, Allbrook said the defendants decided to "steal a car from a faggot" to get money to buy cocaine, Holback said. He told police Jones picked up a .22-caliber handgun at his home on Druid Park Drive.
In the statement, Allbrook initially told police that Jones had approached McDaniel's 1986 Cadillac Seville and shot the teacher. But Allbrook later admitted that he squeezed off four shots after an alleged sexual advance by McDaniel.
"OK. This is the truth," Allbrook told detectives and then broke down crying. "I didn't plan to kill him, but he put moves on me. I shot him in the leg and then kept firing."
McDaniel was hit once in the thigh and three times in the chest, Holback said. Medical reports showed the three chest wounds were probably inflicted after he had fallen to the ground.
After the shooting, Holback said, Jones told Allbrook that he should have "simply beaten [McDaniel] up."
In his statement to police, Allbrook implicated Jones in the shooting of a man who was sitting in his car near the Reptile House Dec. 26, 1988. "He was bragging about it," Allbrook said. "He came over to a Kentucky Fried Chicken on Reisterstown Road and he told me."
Prosecutors said that, while Jones was the alleged triggerman in that shooting, Allbrook was there, too.
McDaniel's car was abandoned on Park Heights Avenue the day after he was killed. Allbrook and Jones were arrested after an anonymous caller told police the defendants were "bragging about the murder and car theft in the neighborhood," Holback said.
McDaniel, of the 1700 block of N. Payson St., worked his way up from teaching assistant to teacher in the city school system. He taught fourth- and fifth-graders at Ashburton.
Holback yesterday submitted as a victim-impact statement a copy of the program from McDaniel's funeral. Looking over to members of his family sitting in court, she said McDaniel will be "dearly and sorely missed" by them.