A 28-year-old Lansdowne man who said he unintentionally killed his wife was convicted in Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday of first-degree murder.
A jury of 11 men and one woman deliberated about an hour before convicting Vincent Gregory Wade in the suffocation death of Joann Wade, 27, Jan. 13, 1992.
Wade faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Judge Barbara K. Howe scheduled sentencing for Sept. 28.
On the day of the murder, Mrs. Wade's 12-year-old daughter, Christina Bevin, found her body on a bed. A coroner said Mrs. Wade died from suffocation, that someone held a pillow, or other object over her face for at least 45 seconds.
Yesterday, Steve Bailey, an assistant state's attorney, encouraged jurors to begin their deliberations by observing 45 seconds of silence.
"That's how long she struggled for her life," he said.
Wade, who defense experts said suffers from an "organic personality syndrome" that causes him to lash out under slight provocation, testified that he grabbed his wife by the throat during an argument. But he insisted he didn't mean to kill her. His attorney, Gary Huddles, called his client "an anguished, tormented soul" with "tremendous psychological problems."
According to trial testimony, Wade was forced out of the family's apartment in the 3700 block of White Pine Road last fall, after his stepdaughter accused him of fondling her. On Jan. 8, he was arrested and charged with a sexual offense in the alleged fondling incident. That case has not yet been tried.
Mr. Huddles said that on Jan. 13, Wade went to the victim's home to visit his infant son, Angelo, despite a court order to stay away from his stepdaughter.
Mr. Bailey suggested that Wade, angry over having been arrested for the fondling charge, went to his wife's apartment intending to kill her. He said evidence showed Wade let himself into the apartment with a key he was not supposed to have. Once inside, Wade ripped both apartment telephones from the wall, so Mrs. Wade could not call for help, Mr. Bailey said, adding: "He killed Joann Wade because she sided with her daughter."