Briscoe Trial To Close Without Defense Witnesses

January 22, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

Attorneys will present closing arguments today in the trial of KevinMichael Briscoe, charged with the first-degree murder of a Columbia woman in April 1990.

Both the state and the defense concluded their cases yesterday after six days of testimony from state witnesses. The defense elected not to put Briscoe or any other witnesses on the stand.

Briscoe, 26, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Pamela Barker, 44, a program analyst with the Health Care Financing Administration. She was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her town house in the 9700 block of Basket Ring Road. Police believe she was killed during the evening of April 21 or in the early morning of April 22.

Also charged in the killing were Brian Jordan, 24, of Jessup, who is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 24, and Temesgen Melaku, 22, who pleaded guilty last March to second-degree murder in the case.

Assistant State's Attorney Christine Gage presented testimony lastweek in an attempt to prove the state's theory that Briscoe withdrewcash and charged purchases using credit cards stolen from Barker. Gage argued that the purchases and merchandise found in Briscoe's car link him to the murder.

The defense conceded that Briscoe used Barker's credit cards for unauthorized purchases but maintained that there is no proof he was involved in her murder.

Kevin Haines, testifying as the state's last witness yesterday, said that Briscoe, who attended Morgan State University with him, had asked Haines to testify that the two were together at a Washington, D.C., club on a specific date in April 1990. Haines said he could not recall if the date was April 21 or April 28.

Briscoe made the request last fall at the Howard County Detention Center while Haines was in custody on traffic charges, Haines said.

Melaku agreed to testify against Briscoe and Jordan in exchange for a reduction of his sentence from 15 to 10 years.He testified that on April 21, 1990, he drove the two men to Barker's neighborhood, where they intended to commit a robbery.

Melaku said Briscoe and Jordan left the car, which was parked across the street from her house. Melaku said he didn't see where they went.

Aboutthree hours later, Jordan returned to the car, appearing upset and angry, Melaku testified. He said he slept while Briscoe and Jordan were away from the car.

Jordan left the car again, returned an hour later and "was worse than before. He was very, very upset, he seemed very mad," Melaku said.

Jordan left the car a third time and returned with Briscoe. Both men were angry and distraught, Melaku said. Thethree then drove to the Oakland Mills Village Center, where Briscoe attempted to withdraw cash using a bank card, Melaku said.

After dropping off Briscoe and Jordan, Melaku drove home. Melaku testified that on the way, he threw from the window a Shell gas card with PamelaBarker's name on it, which Jordan had given to him.

Melaku testified that in discussions with Briscoe in the weeks following the slaying, Briscoe said that Jordan had murdered Barker.

Briscoe's attorney, Craig Gendler, challenged Melaku's testimony, forcing him to admit that he had lied to police several times in his statements about the slaying.

Melaku testified that he knew he was lying when he initially told police in May 1990 that he knew nothing about the murder and later, when he told them that Briscoe was the killer.

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