3 men guilty in bombing that killed 2 children

October 06, 1992|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Three men face sentences of life in prison after being convicted yesterday of murder and arson in a January firebombing that killed two young children in an East Baltimore rowhouse.

Prosecutors presented testimony that showed the children, ages 4 and 5, were the unintended victims of an attack prompted by a dispute among drug dealers. The Molotov cocktail tossed into the front window of the rowhouse in the 2000 block of E. Federal St. was intended by one drug dealer to send a message to a dealer who was visiting the home, said April Gluckstern, an assistant state's attorney.

"You don't stiff a drug dealer," the prosecutor said yesterday during closing arguments in Baltimore Circuit Court. "You just don't do that. You get hurt."

A jury deliberated two hours and 15 minutes before finding the three men guilty on all charges to end a six-day trial.

Ms. Gluckstern said she will seek a sentence of life with no chance for parole for 31-year-old Renford A. Martin. Martin, an illegal alien from Jamaica, was identified by witnesses as the person who threw a burning container of gasoline into the rowhouse.

Also convicted of arson and felony murder were Lennroy A. Martin, a Jamaican national and Renford's 30-year-old brother, and Duane Dundas, Renford's 20-year-old nephew and an illegal xTC alien from Jamaica. Dundas also was found guilty of conspiracy to commit arson and murder.

The Jan. 3 fire killed Reva Shalita Moore, 5, and Anthony Jamar Moore, 4. Other occupants of the house escaped by leaping from a rear bedroom onto the roof of a first-floor summer kitchen. One man was critically injured when he fell from a front third-floor bedroom.

The children's bodies were found in that third-floor room.

The defendants were linked to the crime through Thomas Hobbs, a former boyfriend of the murdered children's mother who was visiting the Federal Street home when it was firebombed. Mr. Hobbs testified that he had agreed to sell $300 worth of "ready rock" cocaine for Dundas but never delivered the money because most of the drugs were stolen before he could sell them.

Witnesses said Renford Martin was "casing" the house and then conferred with a man in a car before throwing the firebomb.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17.

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