Papers presented at Tirado hearing Co-defendant in Wolf slaying said to talk about killing a policeman.

April 18, 1991|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Evening Sun Staff

The lawyer for Eric Tirado, one of two men charged with killing a state trooper last year, has presented papers in Howard County Circuit Court alleging that Tirado's co-defendant talked about slaying a police officer.

Mark Van Bavel, Tirado's public defender, told the court yesterday that a third man who was charged in the slaying of Cpl. Theodore D. Wolf has stated that the co-defendant, Francisco Rodriguez, held a gun and talked about killing someone an hour before Wolf was shot.

"He [Francisco Rodriguez] was talking about killing a person or a policeman," Van Bavel read from a statement allegedly made by Roberto Andino Rodriguez, 27, a Honduran charged as an accessory in Wolf's death. "He wanted to kill a policeman in Virginia."

The statement came to light yesterday in a motions hearing for Tirado, 27, of the Bronx, N.Y., who is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and weapons offenses in the March 29, 1990, shooting death of Wolf.

The court papers quoted another man as saying that Francisco Rodriguez, 21, also of the Bronx, was carrying a gun when Wolf was shot.

Van Bavel did not say from where that statement, which was contained in a small stack of papers, had come.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Rexroad declined to comment on the court papers.

Francisco Rodriguez is being held by federal authorities in Virginia on unrelated drug charges. Charges against Roberto Rodriguez, no relation, were placed on the Baltimore Circuit Court's inactive docket for a year last June 29 on the condition that he cooperate with the investigation, said Donald J. Giblin, a Baltimore assistant state's attorney. Charges will be dropped this summer if he meets that condition, he said.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Tirado, who is being held at the Howard County Detention Center. Under Maryland law, the death penalty can be sought only against the person who committed the murder.

Tirado appeared in court yesterday dressed in a mauve suit and tie and wearing a trace of a beard. His lawyers have complained that deputies have not allowed him to shave since prosecutors ** filed a motion asking that Tirado not be permitted to shave or otherwise alter his appearance from when the crime occurred.

Van Bavel contended that prosecutors are refusing to present evidence that could show that his client did not shoot Wolf, who was slain in his police cruiser on Interstate 95 in Jessup after making a traffic stop about 4 a.m.

He argued during the hearing that the Howard County state's attorney office has refused to provide information that is needed build Tirado's defense. He asked Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. to order prosecutors to give him more information gathered during the murder investigation.

"We're having doors slammed in our faces when trying to get information that is public record," Van Bavel said.

Rexroad argued that the request was too broad and that it was not filed appropriately in a motion. He said Van Bavel was trying to find out the prosecution's theory of the murder and that he was not obligated to provide that.

Kane will hear more arguments on the motions tomorrow. Tirado's trial is set for June 3.

Raymond L. Sanchez contributed to this story.

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