Massive Trial Settles Trooper's Slaying

1991: The Year In Review

December 29, 1991|By Jackie Powder

4 June 17, the Howard County Circuit Courthouse became the setting for one of the lengthiest, most publicized and expensive trials in county history.

Seven weeks later, Eric Joseph Tirado, 27, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder of state police Cpl. Theodore D. Wolf.

The 40-year-old state trooper was shot twice in the face while sitting in his state police cruiser in the early morning hours of March29, 1990, after making a routine traffic stop.

The jury found that Tirado, a New York police academy dropout from the Bronx, fired theshots that killed Wolf, but decid

ed to spare him the death penalty.

Prosecutor Michael D. Rexroad urged jurors to give Tirado the maximum punishment for what he called "the assassination" of Wolf.

He said that Tirado bragged of the killing to Edgar Duvarie, a key state witness and former co-worker and friend of Tirado.

The jury also heard impassioned pleas to let Tirado live from his family and the defendant himself.

"I don't want to die, I don't want to put my family through the pain," Tirado said.

A Catholic priest, who had counseled Tirado in jail, testified that the defendant felt remorse and pain for what he had done.

Ginny Wolf, who sat stoically through each day of the trial, presented a victim impact statement to the jury.

"I wonder if I will ever be able to look forward to happy events in the future without having them overshadowed by sadness from the past," the statement said.

"How will I survive my sons' graduations and weddings and grandchildren without Ted there to share my happiness and pride, when I still cannot face celebrating even a single holiday at home?"

Tirado's co-defendant, Francisco Rodriguez, 22, will be tried next month.

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