Jury Weighs Death Penalty In Jordan's Murder Trial

March 11, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

The jury that convicted Brian Jordan of murdering a Columbia woman must now decide if he should be sentenced to death for the April 1990 slaying of Pamela Mary Barker.

The sentencing phase of the case isto begin today, following the jury's verdict Monday that Jordan is guilty of first-degree murder in Barker's death.

Jordan's conviction comes nearly two years after 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 9700 block of Basket Ring Road.

Jordan, 24, of Guilford, and two other men, Kevin Briscoe, 26, and Temesgen Melaku, 22, were arrested for themurder.

Briscoe, of Columbia, was convicted in February of first-degree murder in the case and is to be sentenced March 31.

Although both men participated in Barker's death, prosecutors say Jordan delivered the fatal wound to Barker's chest.

Melaku, of Millersville,served as the driver and lookout man and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for his role in Barker's death.

In both murder trials,Melaku was the state's key witness against Jordan and Briscoe. As part of his plea agreement, he faces a sentence of between 10 and 15 years.

According to prosecutors, Jordan and Briscoe broke into Barker's home through her basement door, planning to commit a robbery. Themen searched for valuable items downstairs, then grabbed a butcher knife from Barker's kitchen and went upstairs, where she was sleeping.

Melaku, who testified that he was waiting in the car outside of Barker's house, said that Jordan returned to the car "very upset" and confessed to the killing.

"He said, 'I killed her; I killed her for nothing,' " Melaku said.

Melaku, who said he and Jordan were like brothers, testified that Jordan told him that he stabbed Barker in the neck and chest and Briscoe slashed her wrists.

In a statement to police, Jordan admitted participating in the burglary but claimed that Briscoe killed Barker.

"He took the knife and then he stabbedher. Then he put the pillow over her face," Jordan said in his statement.

The single defense witness, Dan Wingo, who met Jordan in theHoward County Detention Center, testified that Briscoe confessed to killing Barker.

Wingo, who is on probation for drug charges, said that Briscoe tried to bribe him into testifying that Jordan was the killer by buying him a pair of tennis shoes at the jail commissary.

During Briscoe's trial, the state presented evidence showing that Briscoe made numerous purchases and cash withdrawals using Barker's stolen credit cards.

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