Salisbury man goes on trial for student's slaying at mall

November 03, 1992|By William Thompson | William Thompson,Staff Writer

DENTON -- Lawyers for a man accused of killing a 17-year-old Salisbury State University student in a shopping mall last year said they intend to argue that a mysterious, still unidentified second man may have been responsible.

After two lengthy postponements requested by defense attorneys in May and July, the trial of David Anthony Boyd finally got under way here yesterday before Judge J. Owen Wise.

The trial was moved to Caroline County from Wicomico County because of the publicity the slaying generated in Salisbury.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the 34-year-old former Salisbury chicken plant worker who they say stabbed freshman Heather Miller twice during a Sept. 9, 1991, robbery inside the women's restroom in the Salisbury Mall.

The trial, scheduled to last through next week, drew a dozen spectators, including several of Ms. Miller's Salisbury State classmates and her parents, who live outside Pittsburgh.

Assistant Public Defender Gary Christopher said he does not dispute that Mr. Boyd was in the mall that day.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Christopher conceded his client had been intoxicated the day of the murder and was seen flirting with several women at the mall.

But he said the evidence is insufficient to prove that Mr. Boyd is the killer.

"There was another person present," said Mr. Christopher, claiming that questions about the identity of a suspicious white man seen at the mall are still troubling police.

Mr. Christopher said the man was listed as a possible suspect in Ms. Miller's death and that a composite sketch of his face was prepared for investigators. Such a man was never apprehended. Police arrested Mr. Boyd, who is black, on Sept. 13 after an anonymous caller said another composite drawing published locally resembled him.

Wicomico County State's Attorney Davis R. Ruark said police matched bloody boot prints found outside the women's restroom with the sole of a boot seized from Mr. Boyd's apartment.

Ms. Miller, a student at Salisbury State for only two weeks before her death, had gone to the mall with three new friends. Mr. Ruark said she carried with her a green wallet, which police never recovered during their investigation.

He said prosecution witnesses will testify that they saw Mr. Boyd leaving the restroom area shouting, "That girl's crazy."

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