Abduction conviction upheld

March 17, 1992|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS ZDB — ANNAPOLIS -- You can break Maryland law without even being here, the state's highest court ruled yesterday in the case of a woman who helped her husband abduct his three children to Jordan in 1989.

The court ruled 4-3 that even though the kidnapping occurred in neighboring Delaware, it had an effect in Maryland, where the children's mother lived. Sharon Marcus, formerly of Overbrook, Pa., was convicted in Kent County Circuit Court on abduction charges although she didn't step foot inside the state to commit the crime.

At the time, Marcus was living in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, William Orville Trindle 3rd, who since has died.

According to court documents, Trindle picked up his children, ages 3, 7 and 8, from their mother, Alexa Matthai, who lived with them in Betterton, Kent County. Ms. Matthai typically would meet him in Wilmington, Del., on Fridays to give him the children for a weekend visit and pick them up in Wilmington on Sundays.

Ms. Matthai agreed to a four-day visit from May 11 to May 14, 1989. Her former husband said he would call her Sunday to tell her what time they should meet to return the youngsters. But that Saturday night, he called Ms. Matthai's aunt, saying he would not bring the children back. That night, he, his wife and the youngsters flew from New York to Amman, Jordan. Marcus had bought the tickets with her own money.

Trindle later called Ms. Matthai's aunt to tell her they were in

Jordan. The aunt spoke with one of the children, who gave the woman their telephone number.

Court records show that when Ms. Matthai called, Trindle answered and said he would return the children only if she agreed to renegotiate their property agreement, grant joint custody of the children and deposit $6,000 to $8,000 in his bank account.

Maryland State Police learned on Sept. 25, 1989, that Trindle, Marcus and the children had been deported from Jordan because their passports had expired. The couple were arrested at Kennedy Airport and returned to Kent County to stand trial. Trindle contended that the Kent County Circuit Court had no jurisdiction over his case because none of his actions were in Maryland. He died before the Court of Appeals hearing and his case was declared moot.

Marcus also challenged Maryland's jurisdiction, but the state's highest tribunal cited precedents, including a 1987 Maryland case involving an assailant who stabbed a woman in Washington, D.C., to prevent her from testifying at a trial in Baltimore. The Court of Appeals said Marcus' circumstances

were similar to those in that case.

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