Trial scheduled to begin today in mall slaying of Salisbury State freshman Maryland man faces death penalty

May 07, 1992|By William Thompson | William Thompson,Staff Writer

DENTON -- What could prove to be a long criminal trial was scheduled to begin here today in the case against a man charged in last fall's fatal stabbing of a Salisbury State University student.

Circuit Court Judge J. Owen Wise has reserved nearly 2 1/2 weeks of the court calendar for the jury trial of David Anthony Boyd. The 33-year-old former Salisbury chicken plant worker allegedly stabbed college freshman Heather Miller twice during a Sept. 9 robbery inside a women's restroom in the Salisbury Mall.

Heather, a 17-year-old from Glenshaw, Pa., died of her wounds at nearby Peninsula Regional Hospital. Mr. Boyd was arrested and charged with her murder Sept. 13 after callers told police he resembled an artist's sketch of a man witnesses said they saw leaving the mall crime scene.

Heather's slaying shocked the Salisbury community and, in what is seen as an attempt to put a soothing distance between the killing and area residents, has become known simply as "the mall murder."

Because prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty, the trial was routinely moved from Salisbury to Denton, the seat of Caroline County.

Wicomico County prosecutors could call more than 100 witnesses to the stand to testify against Mr. Boyd, according to court documents.

Thirty of the potential state witnesses work in law enforcement, an indication of how many police in the relatively rural county were assigned to the widely-reported case. Other potential state witnesses include Heather's university friends, mall employees and acquaintances of Mr. Boyd's.

Wicomico County State's Attorney Davis R. Ruark and Deputy State's Attorney Sampson G. Vincent are expected to argue that Heather's murder was premeditated and that clothes, knives and other belongings seized by police at Mr. Boyd's rented room on North Salisbury Boulevard indicate that the defendant committed the crime.

District Public Defender John P. Rue II and Assistant Public Defender Carolyn P. Mathers are expected to argue that there is no proof that the knives seized as evidence were used in Heather's murder.

Also, according to court documents, the defense may call a witness to testify that had Mr. Boyd stabbed Heather, his clothing would have been badly stained with blood. No public pre-trial reports claim that blood stains were found on Mr. Boyd's clothing, although one court document indicates that blood was discovered on the left pedal of Mr. Boyd's bicycle.

At pretrial hearings, police said Mr. Boyd told them he was at the mall Sept. 9 and had gone into the men's room to drink. A report by a psychiatrist retained by the defense concluded Mr. Boyd suffers a "borderline personality disorder" and has abused alcohol and marijuana.

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