State seeks one trial for carjacking suspects Defense attorneys oppose request

October 14, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Lawyers for two Washington men charged in the brutal carjacking death of a Savage woman are fighting prosecutors' request for a joint trial.

Howard Circuit Judge Dennis Sweeney is reviewing arguments to determine whether a single trial is appropriate for Rodney Eugene Soloman, 26, and Bernard Eric Miller, 16.

The two each are charged with first-degree murder and 18 other counts in the death of Pam Basu. Dr. Basu was dragged to death after the defendants allegedly forced her from her car on Sept. 8 then drove off with Dr. Basu entangled in a seat belt.

Both are being held without bond in the county Detention Center.

Assistant State's Attorneys Joseph Murtha and Christine Gage, who are handling the cases, say one trial makes sense because they plan to use the same evidence and witnesses against the men.

"The offenses in the cases are of the same general nature [and] form part of the same general scheme of unlawful conduct," they wrote in a motion filed Sept. 23.

Defense lawyers David George and Laurack Bray, representing Mr. Miller, and Mr. Soloman's public defender, Carol Hanson, filed separate responses Oct. 5 opposing the request.

The attorneys contend their clients will be "prejudiced" by evidence produced against the other defendant if there is one trial.

Ms. Hanson, the county's chief public defender who is representing Mr. Soloman, asked the court to set a hearing on the matter.

Ms. Hanson added that she cannot offer more arguments against the joint trial until prosecutors provide her with the evidence they plan to use against Mr. Soloman.

Meanwhile, Mr. George and Mr. Bray have asked that prosecutors be ordered to produce facts showing how Mr. Miller can be charged with premeditated, first-degree murder.

Deborah Miller, the Miller teen's mother, has said her son stated that Mr. Soloman threatened him into going along with the carjacking. The older man ordered the teen-ager to strip to his underwear so he wouldn't flee, she said.

The Miller teen said he didn't realize Dr. Basu was being dragged by the car because he was arguing with Mr. Soloman and trying to get out of the vehicle, Ms. Miller said.

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