Marie Delores Apostoledes, 62, limped out of Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday with a big smile on her face, having just been found not guilty of first-degree murder in the Aug. 5, 1988, shooting death of her husband, Stephen.
She had been arrested Aug. 9, 1988, and charged with conspiring with one of her sons, John J. Lacey, to kill Stephen Apostoledes, 58, a cancer patient shot three times in the head by Lacey while sitting in his Dundalk kitchen.
Lacey is serving a 30-year prison term for firing the fatal shots. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February 1989.
"I feel great," Mrs. Apostoledes said, when asked if she felt
vindicated. "I feel good."
Asked about her plans, Mrs. Apostoledes, who must use a cane to get about, replied, "I'm going home. I'm going to bed. I'm going to kick my shoes off and watch TV."
During the one-day court trial in Towson, Judge James T. Smith Jr. called the state's evidence "clearly insufficient" to convict Mrs. Apostoledes of involvement in the slaying.
"There's no evidence that the defendant did anything prior to the death of her husband," said Judge Smith. "And there's no support for a prearranged killing."
Clifford Robinson, an assistant state's attorney, argued that by her actions Mrs. Apostoledes demonstrated that she was aiding and abetting John Lacey in the killing.
After shooting Stephen Apostoledes, Lacey fled the home in the 2000 block of Larkhill Road.
Then, as her husband laying bleeding to death on the kitchen floor, Mrs. Apostoledes waited a full hour before calling 911 for help, according to trial testimony.
"She contributed by letting him languish and bleed to death," Mr. Robinson argued.
Phillip M. Sutley, Mrs. Apostoledes' attorney, countered by saying that she didn't call 911 immediately because she was in shock and she knew that he was already dead.
Her first murder trial ended with a deadlocked jury and at her second trial, her attorneys filed an appeal based on double jeopardy. The double jeopardy claim was rejected by the Court of Appeals last year.
Mrs. Apostoledes, while acquitted of any involvement in her husband's death, still faces trial in Washington County after being accused of trying to sneak heroin into a Hagerstown prison where another son is serving a drug sentence.
She was charged with possessing a small quantity of heroin, found in her purse Feb. 7, while she was visiting Frederick Apostoledes at the Maryland Correctional Institution, according to police.