Defendant in Bias' slaying facing bail review hearing

December 06, 1990|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff

While a suspected assailant in the slaying of James "Jay" Bias 3rd remains unidentified and at large, a suspect who surrendered seven hours after the shooting in a Hyattsville shopping center was facing a bail review hearing today in Upper Marlboro.

Jerry Samuel Tyler, 24, of the 4900 block of Iverson Place in Temple Hills, who turned himself in at the Oxon Hill precinct of the Prince George's County police, was charged with first-degree murder.

Tyler was being held without bond in the county jail in Upper Marlboro pending the hearing in District Court later today, said Sgt. Chuck Cooke, a police spokesman.

Cooke said police still are trying to identify a second man, who fled with Tyler in a light-colored Mercedes Benz.

Cooke said Tyler hasn't provided police with any information about the other man. "He's basically only said he heard we were looking for him and here he was," Cooke said.

Police also have not established who actually fired the fatal shots, or what kind of gun was used to kill Bias, 20, who was shot twice in the back.

"He's one of the principals in the case," Cooke said of Tyler. "It hasn't been determined who was the trigger man."

Police said there's nothing to indicate the shooting was drug-related. They say an argument festered to a boiling point, leaving the 6-foot-7 Bias a victim.

About 1 p.m. Tuesday, Bias and two friends were in a jewelry store in Prince George's Plaza, in the 3400 block of East-West Highway, when a man approached Bias and an argument began. Tyler's wife works in the store.

Police said the man told Bias to step outside to settle the argument, but Bias refused. The man left.

As Bias and his two friends were driving off in a red Toyota 4Runner, a gunman in the Mercedes opened fire.

The Mercedes sped off, and Bias' friends drove him immediately to Leland Memorial Hospital in Riverdale, where he was pronounced dead 1 1/2 hours later.

A friend of Bias in the truck was struck by flying glass. He was treated at Leland and released, police said.

In 1986, Jay's older brother, Len, died at the same hospital after ingesting an overdose of cocaine in his University of Maryland dormitory. His death came two days after the Boston Celtics had signed him to a contract as their first-round draft choice.

His mother, Lonise, began touring the country, telling young people to stay away from drugs.

Since Jay Bias' death, his close-knit family has refused comment.

Yesterday, friends continued to gather at Bias' parents' home in Landover.

"I can't believe this has happened," a male friend told a television reporter.

Jay Bias lived with his older sister, Michelle, in Landover.

He dropped out of Allegany Community College in Cumberland after his freshman year. He had been studying telecommunications there and was on the basketball team, averaging 17 points a game.

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