Man, teen-ager indicted in Howard carjacking death Charges include 1st-degree murder

September 18, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A man and a teen-ager from Washington were indicted yesterday on charges of first-degree murder and 18 other counts in the carjacking death of a Savage woman last week.

The suspects, Rodney Eugene Soloman, 26, and Bernard Eric Miller, 16, were charged in the Sept. 8 death of Pam Basu, a senior chemist at W. R. Grace & Co.

Dr. Basu was dragged to her death after the two men allegedly forced her from the vehicle and sped away with her entangled in a seat belt.

The suspects are being held without bail at the Howard County Detention Center.

County prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Mr. Soloman, Deputy State's Attorney Dwight Thompson said.

State law gives prosecutors until 30 days before the trial to a file a notice that they will seek the death penalty or a life-without-parole sentence for Mr. Soloman.

Prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty against the Miller youth because he is a juvenile, even though he is charged as an adult, Mr. Thompson said.

Each defendant was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, manslaughter, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to maim and assault with intent to rob.

They also are charged with two counts each of robbery, kidnapping, theft, attempted theft and three counts each of assault and battery.

Dr. Basu was taking her 22-month-old daughter, Sarina, to her first day of nursery school when she was forced from her car by two men at a stop sign near her home in the 9600 block of Horsham Drive.

The abductors drove off with Sarina still in the car but stopped about half a mile away and placed the child on the road unharmed, police said. Dr. Basu, however, was dragged for nearly two miles after her arm became caught in a seat belt.

Before Dr. Basu's car was stolen, police say, two men attempted a carjacking at the rest area along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Jessup.

A bail hearing scheduled for the Miller youth in Howard County District Court yesterday was canceled because of the indictment, which transfers the case to Circuit Court.

One of the Miller youth's attorneys, Laurack D. Bray of Washington, said he will file a motion to reduce his client's bail in Circuit Court upon reviewing the indictment.

"We are going to argue, based on the circumstances of the case, that there should be a bond reduction," Mr. Bray said.

L "[The evidence] is not overwhelmingly against him," he said.

Mr. Bray said he wants to get the bail reduced so that his client can return to school.

"He shows potential," Mr. Bray said of the 11th-grader.

Deborah Miller, the suspect's mother, and other relatives of the youth went to District Court for the bail-review hearing.

Mrs. Miller has said that her son told her Mr. Soloman coerced and threatened him into going along with stealing Dr. Basu's car.

Bail proceedings for Mr. Soloman and other court hearings have not been scheduled.

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