Confession To Murders Came Freely, Officers Testify

June 23, 1991|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

A Laurel man charged in January with killing his girlfriend and her 7-year-old son repeatedly admitted to committing the murders after police took him into custody.

Police officers testified at a pretrial hearing Friday that Melvin McMains willingly talked about the crimeand expressed remorse for what he had done.

"I have sinned, I am a Christian. I did the right thing by calling the police," McMains said, after police arrived at his apartment tofind his live-in girlfriend, her son and the dog dead in a blood-spattered living room, patrol officer Jeffrey Fox testified.

McMains,37, is pleading not guilty to two charges of first-degree murder in the Jan. 13 slayings of Caria Roth and her son Christopher, said his attorney, assistant public defender Anthony Lyons. Lyons has asked Judge Cornelius F. Sybert Jr. to prevent the prosecution from using McMains' statements to police. The hearing will continue Monday.

The state intends to seek the death penalty, said prosecutor Kate O'Donnell.

At Friday's hearing before Sybert, several officers testified that McMains told them he had an upstairs neighbor call 911 because his telephone was not working after he had killed Roth and her son.

When police arrived at the apartment in the 9100 block of Bourbon Street, they saw the two bodies and the dead dog on the living room couch. They found several weapons, including rifles, handguns and knivesthroughout the apartment.

At the scene, McMains told police that he had shot Caria Roth with a .45-caliber automatic and stabbed Christopher to death, said Detective Glenn Hansen.

Hansen said McMains told him, "I heard that I should kill Caria and I realized that I should atone for my sins. That's why I called the police."

Hansen said that McMains said he had been smoking PCP the night before.

"He seemed like he wanted to explain what had happened," the detective testified.

Hansen described the defendant as being "overly cooperative" and talkative during the questioning.

Detective Stephen Greisztestified that McMains said he had showered and changed his clothes after the killings and then asked a neighbor to call police. He also demonstrated to police how he had stabbed Christopher Roth, Greisz said.

On the trip to Howard County General Hospital, where police took McMains to obtain blood samples, McMains chatted about motorcyclesand his work as an auto mechanic, police testified.

McMains started talking about the molecular breakdown in the universe and said that Armageddon was coming, Greisz said.

He also talked about the killings, police said. McMains said that Roth was still twitching after he shot her, so he shot her again, Hansen testified. McMains spoke about the crimes to police again a few days after the killings, when police questioned him at the Howard County Detention Center. He is being held there in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Greisz testified that McMains said: "If you see Caria's mom, just tell her I did an awful thing.I'm sorry. I guess I'll get the gas chamber or life imprisonment forthis."

McMains' trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 7.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.