4 troopers could face punishment for releasing Carter State police probe suspect's successful use of stolen license.

April 08, 1992|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

Four state troopers could face disciplinary charges for their failure to detain a man accused of killing a Catonsville resident and using the victim's doctored driver's license to trick the troopers into releasing him, according to a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Leonard A. Sipes Jr., the spokesman, confirmed that disciplinary action is being considered, but declined to discuss details of an internal state police investigation.

Sources said the disciplinary action is recommended by investigators who examined how Dontay Carter, 18, was able dupe the troopers on two occasions. Mr. Carter has since been charged with the Feb. 11 abduction and slaying of Catonsville engineer Vitalis V. Pilius, 37, and the abductions of two other men between Feb. 7 and Feb. 14.

In the internal investigative report, Capt. Jack Howard, head of the state police internal affairs unit, has recommended that the troopers be charged with a variety of administrative violations involving neglect of duty and incompetence, the sources said.

The troopers were identified as Sgt. James H. Mollman and TFC Joseph O. Miller, both of the Baltimore-Washington International Airport detachment; and Sgt. Lloyd Russell and Trooper Holly L. Fuller, who are assigned to the Golden Ring barracks.

Internal investigators have also informed barracks commanders and their immediate assistants at BWI and Golden Ring barracks that they also face administrative action if it can be determined that they failed to provide adequate guidance to their command, sources within the state agency said.

"They are in charge of the barracks," a source said. "The ultimate responsibility is on their shoulders."

Internal investigators recently provided the barracks commanders and their assistants with reports known as "178s", informing them that they are a part of the investigation, sources said. Those individuals were identified as Capt. James Attick, Lt. Edward Brown and 1st Sgt. Robert Robinson, all of the BWI detachment; and Lt. Wayne Saunders and Sgt. David Franklin of the Golden Ring barracks.

Mr. Sipes said that questioning the command staff at both barracks was a "routine matter."

But sources said agency officials want to determine if the command staff at both barracks provided proper guidance to the troopers.

Within a 24-hour period in February, state police are said to have twice come into contact with Dontay Carter while he was using identification of Mr. Pilius, a 37-year-old white male who had been reported missing.

The first encounter reportedly occurred Feb. 11 when a young man now believed to have been Mr. Carter attempted to rent a car at the Budget rental office at BWI using identification belonging to Mr. Pilius.

A suspicious employee who noted the age discrepancy notified state police. But two state troopers released the man after he became belligerent and threatened legal action.

The following day, Trooper Fuller stopped Mr. Carter in a rental car that was clocked at 60 mph in a 45-mph zone on Reisterstown Road.

Mr. Carter -- who is black -- allegedly presented the trooper with a bogus driver's license. A photograph of Mr. Carter was on the license along with the date of birth and physical description of Mr. Pilius.

Trooper Fuller released Mr. Carter with a warning ticket after conferring with Sergeant Russell at the Golden Ring barracks, sources said.

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