Briscoe Convicted In Columbia Robbery-murder

January 26, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

After deliberating 15 hours, a Howard County jury convicted Kevin Michael Briscoe of felony murder yesterday in the April 1990 slaying ofa 44-year-old woman in her Columbia town house.

Pamela Mary Barker, a program analyst with the Health Care Financing Administration, was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her ransacked home in Columbia's Stevens Forest neighborhood. Briscoe and two other men were charged.

With no fingerprints, blood or fiber samples linking the 26-year-old Briscoe to the murder, Assistant State's Attorney Christine Gage relied on a paper trail of bank records and credit card receipts to prove the case.

Gage theorized that Briscoe, 26, killed Barker on April 23, 1990, in the course of a robbery in which he stole her credit cards. Over the next few days, he used the cards to withdraw cash and go on a shopping spree.

"It was a complicated case because of the body of evidence," Gage said. "The jury had to look at bank records, look at receipts with dates, times and locations. There was a lot of information they had to put together to find the defendant committed this murder."

The jury also convicted Briscoe of robbery with adeadly weapon, burglary and theft. He is to be sentenced March 31. The state is seeking a sentence of life without parole.

Brian Jordan, 24, charged with felony murder as a co-defendant, is scheduled fortrial Feb. 24. Temesgen Melaku, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against Briscoe and Jordan and received a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Melaku testified that he drove Briscoe and Jordan to Barker's house, where they intended to commita robbery, and afterward drove to an automated teller in Oakland Mills Village Center.

Bank representatives testified that by April 23, $3,300 in cash had been withdrawn from automated teller machines inthe Oakland Mills area using Barker's VISA card.

Merchants from stores in Towson testified that on April 24, Barker's credit card was used to make purchases at a Towson mall. And sales clerks from a men's clothing store in Washington's Georgetown area identified Briscoe as the man who attempted to make a purchase there on April 25 using Barker's credit card.

A cashier from European Motors in Towson testified that Briscoe made a $2,500 cash payment on a repair bill for hisAlfa Romeo Milano and picked up the car on April 25 after making another cash payment of $423.

Briscoe was arrested May 7, wearing $100 athletic shoes he had bought with Barker's credit card.

The defense maintained there was no proof Briscoe was involved in the murder.

Briscoe's attorney, Linda Ostovitz, claimed that the prosecution bombarded the jury with emotionally charged evidence -- a video of the crime scene, numerous pictures of the victim and an autopsy report -- to make up for the lack of real evidence.

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