While Pamela Mary Barker lay stabbed to death in her Columbia town house, Kevin Michael Briscoe used her credit card to pay for repairs on his car and go on a shopping spree, buying jewelry, cassettes and clothes, Assistant State's Attorney Christine Gage charged last week.
Salespersons, store managers, cashiers and bank representatives took the stand in Briscoe's murder trial to testify on the state's theory that in the days following Barker's murder, Briscoe was withdrawing money and making purchases on Barker's credit card account.
Gage argues that the trail of credit card purchases link Briscoe to the burglary and stabbing of Barker in her Columbia town house in April 1990. Briscoe, 26, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Barker, 44, a program analyst with the Health Care Financing Administration.
During his trial, which began Jan. 13 before Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane, Jr., Gage attempted to reconstruct for the jury Briscoe's activities following the murder through transactions on Barker's credit cards.
Barker is believed to have been murdered in her townhouse in the 9700 block of Basket Ring Road between the evening of April 21 and the early morning hours of April 22.
By April 23, a total of $3,300 in cash had been withdrawn from automated teller machines in the Oakland Mills area using Barker's credit cards, Gage said.
The next day, Briscoe went to European Motors in Towson,where his Alfa Romeo Milano had been under repair for several months. The garage cashier testified that Briscoe made a $2,500 cash payment on part of the repair bill.
Later in the day he checked into theTowson Quality Inn Motel and did some shopping at a nearby mall, Gage said.
The security manager from the Hecht Co. department store in Towson testified that Barker's MasterCard was used on April 24 to purchase $446 in the fine jewelry department and a $48 purchase in themen's department for a Ralph Lauren shirt and shorts.
At Record World, Barker's card was use to buy two cassette tapes for $17.30, thestore manager testified. And a sales manager with Athletic Attic testified that the card was presented to buy a $100 pair of Adidas basketball shoes.
On April 25, after a $140 withdrawal from a Signet Bank automated teller machine in Towson, Briscoe paid the $423 balance on his car repair and took the car, Gage said.
Briscoe drove his car to Georgetown in Washington and attempted to do some more shoppingat Members, a men's clothing boutique. But the store clerk became suspicious and took Barker's MasterCard, Gage said.
Police arrested Briscoe on May 7 after tracking him through the credit card charges. In his car they found the bottom portion of a Hecht Co. receipt imprinted with the name P. M. Barker and one of the cassettes bought at Record World, Gage said.
Also charged in the killing were Brian Jordan, 24, of Jessup, who is scheduled to stand trial on Feb. 24, and Temesgen Melaku, who pleaded guilty last March to second-degree murder in the case. His sentencing is pending.
Next week, Melaku is expected to testify that he was the driver and lookout man in the crime and that Briscoe and Jordan actually entered Briscoe's house.
Briscoe's attorney, Craig Gendler, conceded that he used Barker's credit card to make unauthorized purchases, but says that does not prove that he broke into Barker's home and killed her.