Bruno Trial Postponed

Defense May Seek Move

April 07, 1991|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

The trial for a Baltimore County man charged in the sexual attack ofa 25-year-old woman while riding in a limousine in March 1990 has been postponed. A new trial date has not been set.

Michael A. Bruno,32, of Glen Arm, was to stand trial tomorrow in Harford Circuit Court, but a postponement was granted Thursday just before jury selectionwas to begin.

Bruno's attorney, David R. Solomon, said he requested the postponement to allow time for an independent psychiatric evaluation for his client. Bruno already has been examined by doctors at the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Bruno has filed a plea of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. If convicted of first-degree rape, Bruno could be sentenced to life in prison. He faces 18charges, including two counts of first-degree rape.

Solomon said he also might ask the court to move Bruno's trial to another county. He declined to discuss his reasons for wanting to move the trial.

The Essex woman told police she was raped on March 29, 1990, by threemen in the back of a white limousine traveling in Harford County, court records say.

The woman said the men repeatedly shocked her with an electric "stun gun" during the attack, court records say.

Bruno, who is being held at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in Baltimore, will be the third man to stand trial for the incident.

The other two men -- Andre S. Whims, 27, of Phoenix, Baltimore County, and Robert W. Ambrose, 27, of Edgewood -- were acquitted during separate trials in Circuit Court.

In addition to first-degree rape, Bruno is charged by state police with first-degree sexual offense, second-degree rape, second-degree sexual offense, sodomy, kidnapping,false imprisonment, assault with intent to rape, assault and battery, assault and a weapons charge.

Bruno also is charged with solicitation to commit murder after,police say, he suggested to Whims and Ambrose that they kill the woman to prevent her from going to the police. The other men talked Bruno out of harming the woman, according to a police report.

Bruno was charged with a second count of solicitation to commit murder, obstruction of justice and intimidation of a witness after police said he again tried to have the woman killed to prevent her from testifying.

Police said Bruno offered an undercover state police corporal, who Bruno thought was a hired killer, $1,500on July 28 to murder the woman.

During the Whims and Ambrose trials, the victim testified that she agreed to go for a ride with the men in their limousine after she met them at a Baltimore show bar, where she performed as a dancer.

The group drove to Essex because someof the men wanted cocaine, but they never got any drugs, she said.

After leaving Essex, the men parked the limousine and attacked her,she said. When she started fighting them, they shocked her with a stun gun, she said.

Whims and Ambrose testified that the woman wanted cocaine and agreed to have sex with them if they bought her the drug.

Bruno was then scheduled to stand trial in January, but the proceedings were rescheduled to April.

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