Defense tries to suppress evidence in murder trial

October 15, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Attorneys for a Marriottsville man charged with murdering his wife are trying to prevent some police evidence from being used at his trial.

John Carroll Calhoun, 51, is accused of kicking an aluminum ladder his wife was standing on outside their home, causing her to fall and strike her head on steel scaffolding May 13. Police say Mr. Calhoun left Gladys Calhoun, 45, to die, then feigned surprise when relatives discovered her body hours later.

Mr. Calhoun is charged with murder, manslaughter, assault with intent to murder, reckless endangerment, assault, and battery.

A hearing that will determine what evidence can be used began yesterday before Howard Circuit Judge Dennis Sweeney. The hearing is expected to continue today and possibly tomorrow.

Defense attorneys Jonathan Smith and Daniel Scherr, both of Columbia, are focusing on evidence police collected from the Calhouns' home, in the 2500 block of Thompson Drive. The evidence was not discussed during yesterday's hearing.

They also are targeting statements Mr. Calhoun gave to detectives during a month-long investigation before he was charged.

Mr. Calhoun denied being home at the time of his wife's death during at least three interviews with police, according to testimony at yesterday's hearing.

However, Mr. Calhoun told investigators on June 6 -- about two weeks before he was charged -- that he and his wife were arguing while she was on a ladder cleaning gutters, a police report says.

During the argument, Mr. Calhoun kicked the right foot of the ladder, causing it to twist and Mrs. Calhoun to fall, the report says.

Investigators also obtained a letter written by Mrs. Calhoun in Spanish saying that she had confronted her husband with her suspicions that he was having an affair with another woman, the report says.

Police also have a statement from a family friend that Mrs. Calhoun said that if she died suddenly, her death "probably" would not have been an accident.

A trial date has not been set.

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