Elkridge man guilty in woman's slaying

April 18, 1991|By Michael J. Clark | Michael J. Clark,Howard County Bureau of The Sun

An Elkridge man was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder and other charges in the July 1989 slaying of a neighborhood woman who was killed by a shotgun blast through the window of her apartment and then sexually molested.

A Howard County jury deliberated three hours and 20 minutes before convicting Vernon Clark, 35, in the murder of Kathleen P. Gouldin. He also was found guilty of assault with intent to rape, perverted practices and carrying a dangerous weapon.

Christine Gage, an assistant county state's attorney, said the state will ask Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. to impose a sentence of life without parole when Clark is sentenced June 18.

The state depended on testimony by an FBI expert who said Clark's DNA, the body's genetic material, matched seminal fluid found on the victim's body.

Prosecutors also called two inmates who said Clark had made confessions to them.

In addition, police traced a pizza box found in the parking lot outside Ms. Gouldin's apartment in the 6100 block of Old Washington to Clark, based on telephone numbers written on the cardboard.

And in a truck at an Elkridge rendering plant where Clark worked, police found a shotgun and shells with pellets similar to those found in the victim's body, according to state witnesses.

Clark took the stand in his own defense.

He admitted that he had been in the parking lot of the apartment complex at the time of the murder, but said that he was using drugs at the time and denied any involvement in the crime.

The defense challenged the state's case, saying it had not presented credible evidence to convict the defendant, and called expert witness to challenge the DNA testimony of the state's witness.

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