Carter to get 3 trials in slaying and abductions

October 01, 1992|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Dontay Carter faces three separate trials in connection with a weeklong crime spree in which one man was slain and two others were robbed and stuffed into the trunks of their cars.

Judge John N. Prevas yesterday rejected a request from prosecutors that charges against Carter in the three February kidnappings from city parking garages be heard in one trial.

After the ruling, Assistant State's Attorney Vickie L. Wash said that Carter will be tried first in the Feb. 11 abduction and beating death of Vitalis V. Pilius, a 37-year-old father of four from Catonsville whose body was found in the basement of a vacant East Baltimore rowhouse.

Pretrial motions in that case are scheduled to be heard tomorrow and Monday, with jury selection to follow. Among the matters yet to be decided is whether Carter's three co-defendants will be tried separately, Ms. Wash said.

Carter, who has filed a federal suit charging city detention center officials with violating his civil rights, also is charged with kidnapping a doctor from a garage at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Feb. 7 and abducting another man two weeks later at the parking garage at the downtown Harbor Park Cinema.

Those two men both survived after being stuffed into the trunks of their cars.

Ms. Wash told the court yesterday that while in prison Carter had "conjured up" a plan to abduct men and obtain altered driver's licenses to allow him to use their credit cards.

And, when an attempt to kill Dr. Daniel Ford failed, Carter told witnesses that he wouldn't let it happen again, Ms. Wash said.

Four days after Dr. Ford was found in the trunk of his car at Mondawmin Mall, Mr. Pilius was abducted and slain.

According to a summary of Carter's statement to police contained in court files, Carter and co-defendant Clarence Woodward drove around looking for a place to kill Mr. Pilius before taking him to the rowhouse.

Mr. Pilius' hands were bound and a plastic bag covered his head. According to the statement to police, Carter said he found two pipes in an alley and he and Woodward used them to beat Mr. Pilius in the back of the head before pushing him down the basement steps. "Both of us did it," Carter told police, according to the court records.

In arguing for separate trials for Carter, Assistant Public Defender John S. Deros said that the similarities in the three crimes did not amount to a "signature" because parking garage abductions are common.

Carter was moved from the Baltimore City Detention Center, where he had been deemed a security risk, to the Maryland Penitentiary on May 11 to await trial, court records show. Carter filed suit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore demanding the return of "legal and religious articles" he said were seized before his transfer.

In their response to the suit, corrections officials say Carter was "responsible for inciting fellow inmates to participate in several jail disturbances" during his brief stay at the city detention center.

Authorities said that in April Carter set a fire in his cell at the detention center and stabbed a correctional officer with a shard of broken glass.

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