A former cellmate of the man charged with murdering Kimberly R. Kenna, a St. Timothy's School security guard, testified that anger over a domestic dispute may have been the catalyst for the killing.
David Lotridge, 23, told a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury yesterday that Harvey Allen Teets Jr. confessed to killing the part-time security guard because "he had a lot of anger toward females" as a result of an estrangement from his wife.
Judge Alfred L. Brennan Sr. and jurors listened as Lotridge told of sharing a cell with Teets at the Baltimore County Detention Center following Teets' arrest in March in the Feb. 23 slaying of Kenna, 23, who lived at St. Timothy's.
Teets is a former groundskeeper at St. Timothy's, a private high school for girls on Greenspring Avenue in Stevenson.
Lotridge was in jail awaiting trial on charges of assaulting his former girlfriend, assaulting two police officers and attempting to escape during a bail review hearing. An admitted alcoholic, he said he was drunk at the time of the assaults.
Under questioning from Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Bailey, Lotridge told the jury of four women and eight men that Teets told him he drove to St. Timothy's on the night of the murder after drinking beer and whiskey and using cocaine.
Lotridge said Teets told him he parked his car about 75 feet from the guard shack where Kenna was stationed and took a "kitchen table leg, sawed-down" from the trunk of his car.
"He then presumed to go up to where the guard was at, psyching himself out, getting himself more and more angry at his wife," Lotridge said.
"He said he hit [Kenna] about 12 or 13 times inside the booth," Lotridge said. "He said she was screaming, telling him to stop . . . saying she'd do anything he wants."
Lotridge said Teets told him he dragged an unconscious Kenna to the back of the guard shack, where he removed her pants and underwear before "he realized what was going on."
Lotridge said Teets told him "he hit her a couple more times to kill her," then dragged her body to a lake on the school's campus and drove home to wash his clothing before police arrived to question him.
"Has anyone associated with this case ever told you about what happened at St. Timothy's?" Bailey asked.
"No," Lotridge replied.
Under cross-examination from an assistant public defender, Patricia L. Chappell, Lotridge admitted that following his agreement with the state to remain alcohol-free and to testify against Teets, he was released from jail and one of the assault charges against him was dropped.
The state also agreed to recommend a three-year suspended sentence for Lotridge, almost certainly reducing the amount of jail time he would have to serve if convicted.
"What would happen if you didn't show up to testify here. . . ?" Chappell asked him.
"To be honest, I'd probably end up in Baltimore County Detention Center," Lotridge said.
Jurors also heard from Michael V. Marinaro, a forensic chemist in the State Police crime lab, who testified that samples of the victim's blood matched samples taken from bloodstains on the wooden club that police found in Teets' car and on a pair of Teets' work boots.
Marinaro said that through genetic testing he matched the victim's blood with bloodstains found on the boots and the club with 98.7 percent accuracy.
Under cross-examination, Chappell tried to whittle away at Marinaro's testimony by focusing on a notation he made on a test result sheet that said "DNA examination [of the blood] is necessary," and the fact that he couldn't say with 100 percent certainty that the blood on the boots or the club belonged to Kenna.
"I can 100 percent conclusively say that the blood is not the defendant's," he said. But "It's not like a fingerprint," he explained.