Three men who had originally been charged with murder in an attack on two black men in Remington last July pleaded guilty to lesser charges yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court.
Before accepting the plea agreement, Judge Ellen M. Heller sought the approval of the family of the murder victim, 27-year-old Harold Parker, and of his friend, Tarey Antoine Faust, 28, who was injured in the attack by at least two knife-wielding men in the 2900 block of Miles Avenue.
In outlining the agreement, Assistant State's Attorney Richard D. Lawlor said the prosecution would have had a difficult time proving first-degree murder in the case. The confrontation took place, he said, after a racial epithet and a thrown bottle exploded into fatal violence -- fueled by drinking all around. The two black men returned with a butcher knife and iron pipes to confront the white men in their own neighborhood.
Mr. Lawlor recommended and Judge Heller accepted a guilty plea from Eric Archer-Burton, 24, to a charge of second-degree murder. John Edwin Mooney, 29, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in Mr. Faust's stabbing. Charles Edward Tippett II, 23, of the 400 block of Tuxedo Street, pleaded guilty to a malicious destruction of property charge for throwing a bottle through the rear window of Mr. Faust's car.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 29. Under the terms of the plea bargain, Judge Heller can sentence Mr. Mooney, of the 2900 block of Miles Avenue, to serve up to five years of a 12-year term for attempted murder. Mr. Archer-Burton, of the 4000 block of Falls Road, could serve up to 12 years of a 20-year term for second-degree murder.
A fourth defendant, Thomas Richardson Barksdale III, 22, of the 400 block of Tuxedo Street, is to appear before Judge Heller today.
Mr. Faust and the family of Mr. Parker declined to comment.
Mr. Lawlor called the case a tragedy and noted that neither Mr. Parker nor the man who killed him, Mr. Archer-Burton, was involved in a remark made at a pay telephone that touched off the fracas.
According to court documents, the trouble began just after midnight last July 18. Mr. Faust and Mr. Parker had been drinking at a friend's house and had parted company for the evening, when Mr. Faust stopped to use the pay telephone at 29th Street and Miles Avenue.
Mr. Mooney was headed toward the same telephone, Mr. Lawlor said, and told Mr. Faust, "Hey man, that phone's out of order." When Mr. Faust thanked him, but said he would try the phone anyway, Mr. Mooney used a racial epithet, the prosecutor said.
Mr. Faust drove away from the neighborhood and returned with Mr. Parker, who was fatally stabbed.