Twice, Wendell Julian Daniels has been brought to court to plead guilty in the 1989 slaying of former Annapolis High School basketball star Reno T. Green. Twice, Daniels backed out of the plea bargain.
Daniels, who is being held at the County Detention Center without bond, was brought to court again yesterday, only to have his lawyer tell the judge that Daniels had rejected the prosecutor's latest offer.
Noting that yesterday's brief court session was a replay of an April 23 hearing that accomplished nothing, Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. told lawyers for both sides to prepare for a trial because he didn't want to hear any more talk of plea agreements that would fall through.
Daniels is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy in the July 8, 1989, slaying of the former basketball star. Green, 21, of the 400 block of Boston Heights Circle, was shot twice in the back shortly after midnight near his home. Witnessestold police the victim and another man were arguing and when Green turned to leave, the other man pulled out a handgun, shot him and thenrobbed him of $5.
Assistant State's Attorney Frederick M. Paone said yesterday that he will seek to prove Daniels' co-defendant, 41-year-old John Lee Leonard, fired the shot that killed Green. Paone declined to further discuss the facts of the case.
The April 23 hearing was delayed when Daniels and his lawyer, Roland Walker, huddled in a vacant jury room, discussing Paone's offer. Paone had thought he had an agreement on terms under which Daniels would plead guilty -- andhe told the defendant his offer was good for that day only -- but when the hearing began Daniels said he would not plead guilty.
A similar scene played out yesterday, with Paone conferring with Walker's associate, Gil S. Amaral, and Daniels then telling the court that no deal had been reached.
Afterward, Paone said he had in fact changed his offer from April 23, but he refused to divulge the terms of hisoffer.
Gerald Diggs, brother of the slain man, said the delays were frustrating to his family. And, referring to Daniels, Diggs said, "I don't know why he wants to prolong the agony."
But Diggs vowed to remain involved in the case, saying, "I'm not giving up until death does me part. I'm going to be here. He's my brother."