Three men pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from the fatal stabbing of one of two black men who were attacked by a gang of whites last summer in Remington.
Eric Archer-Burton, 24, of the Remington area, pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to the second-degree murder of Harold Parker, 27, who was stabbed three times during a July 18 attack which had racial overtones. Prosecutors said they will recommend a 12-year sentence.
John Edwin Mooney, 29, of the 2900 block of Miles Ave., pleaded guilty to the attempted second-degree murder of Tarey A. Faust, 27, who was stabbed twice when he and Parker were attacked by at least four white men in an incident sparked by a dispute over a pay phone. Prosecutors will recommend a five-year sentence for Mooney.
Charles Edward Tippett, 23, also of the Remington area, pleaded guilty to malicious destruction for hurling a bottle through the rear window of Faust's car.
Before accepting the pleas, Judge Ellen M. Heller heard from Parker's sister and Faust.
Michelle Parker said: "I feel that my family and I have suffered. We feel that [Archer-Burton] should be punished to the fullest extent and we feel the judicial system should do its job."
Asked later whether they felt justice was done, the Parker family and Faust declined to comment.
Prosecutor Richard D. Lawlor said the case was complicated by contradictions in witness accounts and the fact the victims were armed. "There should be no question that this office will vigorously prosecute hate crimes," he said. "But that does not absolve us of our responsibilty to prosecute these crimes according to the law."
Lawlor told Heller racism played a role -- Mooney uttered racial epithets against Faust. But excessive drinking by the defendants and the victims may have played a bigger role.
Faust and Parker, described as best friends, were out drinking that night, Lawlor said. Faust, on his way home alone, stopped at a pay phone at Miles Avenue and 29th Street to call his wife.
"The phone's out of order," Mooney told Faust, according to Lawlor. When Faust moved up to the phone anyway, Mooney began to use racial epithets.
After two other men approached him, Faust climbed back in his car, the prosecutor said. Tippett hurled a bottle threw the rear window as Faust pulled away.
Faust went to his Remington Avenue home and called Parker, a Forest Park resident. Lawlor said Parker arrived at Faust's home and the two men armed themselves with a butcher knife and a lead pipe.
Faust drove his blue Chevette went the wrong way on Miles Avenue, a narrow, one-way street near Interstate 83, the prosecutor said. The butcher knife was tucked beside the driver's seat, the lead pipe sat between the front seats and a tire iron on the floorboard.
Faust told police that Mooney, Archer-Burton and others converged on the car. When Parker attempted to get out, he was punched by one man and then stabbed in the arm, chest and neck by Archer-Burton. Parker screamed, "They got me!" as Faust, who had been stabbed in the arm and face by Mooney, pulled his friend in the car.
Faust raced to Sinai Hospital and pulled up to the wrong entrance, Lawlor said. Faust became hysterical and was arrested after a scuffle with hospital security officers. Faust was acquitted of assault, resisting arrest and other charges.
Archer-Burton's attorney, Howard L. Cardin, attempted to enter into an Alford plea, saying his client had denied involvement in the attack and had passed a polygraph test, even though conceding that the evidence was strong against him.
"I don't send a man to jail for 12 years unless he committed the crime," the judge said.