Dancer's killer convicted

September 30, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury has convicted Michael A. Cutlip, 24, of first-degree murder for the Dec. 2, 1990, strangulation of an exotic dancer in Essex.

The jury of 11 women and one man deliberated for eight hours yesterday before finding Cutlip guilty. He also was convicted of first-degree sexual offense and theft.

Cutlip, who testified that Joie Lynne Wisdom, 19, died accidentally during a session of rough sex, now faces a death penalty hearing, which was to begin today.

Miss Wisdom was found dead in her apartment Dec. 3, 1990, partially clothed and with two electrical cords wrapped tightly around her neck.

Defense lawyers attacked Miss Wisdom's lifestyle, alleging that she participated in sadomasochistic sex and had handcuffs and a riding crop in her bedroom.

However, three former boyfriends testified that, while she would use the whip and handcuffs playfully, she did not participate in painful acts. They also said she was sensitive about her appearance and would not want marks left on her neck.

During closing arguments yesterday, defense lawyer Steve Tully reiterated his client's story that the death was accidental, while prosecutors John Cox and Lou Carrico called the story unbelievable.

"I'm not trying to run down Joie Wisdom," said Mr. Tully. "I'm trying to give you her background to see if she was involved in this activity [sadomasochism] to corroborate my client's testimony."

Mr. Carrico said that, while Miss Wisdom's lifestyle might not be "acceptable to us, it makes her life no less important." Mr. Cox criticized the defense strategy of attacking Miss Wisdom.

"You've seen an effort to remove the last dignity left for Joie Lynne Wisdom," said Mr. Cox. "The evidence is so overwhelming that Michael Cutlip has no other choice but to attack the [victim's lifestyle]."

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