Opening Statements Due In Jordan Murder Trial

March 01, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow in the trial of 24-year-old Brian Jordan, charged in the April 1990 stabbing death of aColumbia woman.

Jordan is accused of killing Pamela Mary Barker with her own kitchen knife during a robbery at her home in the 9700 block of Basket Ring Road.

Barker, 44, a program analyst with the Health Care Financing Administration, was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her ransacked home in the Stevens Forest neighborhood.

The state is seeking the death penalty in the case.

Kevin Briscoe, 26, a co-defendant in the case, was convicted in February of first-degree murder. The staterelied on evidence that showed that Briscoe made numerous purchases and cash withdrawals using Barker's stolen credit cards.

Also charged in the killing was 22-year-old Temesgen Melaku, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against Briscoe and Jordan. As part of his plea agreement, Melaku faces a maximum sentence of 15 years.

A key state witness at Briscoe's trial, Melaku testified that he drove Briscoe and Jordan to Barker's house, where they had planned to commit a robbery.

In Jordan's trial, Melaku is expected to testify that it was Jordan who stabbed Barker.

Jordan's lawyers had sought to have the case dismissed, claiming that county prosecutors withheld information from them.

Prosecutors obtained a statement from Melaku in February 1991 implicating Jordan as thekiller. But defense lawyers did not learn of the statement until 10 months later. During that period, Jordan's lawyers agreed to postponethe trial, believing a plea bargain was still possible for Jordan. They say prosecutors misled them by withholding the statement.

At the time of the postponement, in March 1991, the defense knew only of Melaku's earlier statements in which he identified Briscoe as the killer, said James Maggio, a lawyer for Jordan.

Circuit Judge RaymondJ. Kane Jr. denied Jordan's request for dismissal.

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