Jury told of abduction that led to Carter's arrest Police saw man jump from trunk

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

Baltimore police Col. Leon N. Tomlin says he was on his way to a doctor's appointment when he saw a man jump from the trunk of a car ahead of him at Madison and Ensor streets. Within minutes, after a police pursuit of the car's driver, Dontay Carter was under arrest, the colonel testified yesterday in the East Baltimore teen-ager's murder trial.

Eleven days into Carter's trial in the kidnapping and beating death of Vitalis V. Pilius, jurors received their first detailed account of the abduction of Douglas Legenhausen. After hearing Monday that Carter confessed to killing Mr. Pilius, jurors were told yesterday that he also admitted forcing Mr. Legenhausen into the car trunk at gunpoint on Feb. 14 -- the same day Mr. Pilius' body was found.

Earlier in the trial, presiding Judge John N. Prevas had ruled against allowing mention of the Feb. 7 kidnapping of a Johns Hopkins Hospital doctor, an abduction also laid to Carter. In that instance, the judge ruled Carter's right to a fair trial outweighed the prosecution's need to present the evidence as part of the Pilius case.

In making that ruling the judge said he would review other references to the kidnappings of the Hopkins doctor and Mr. Legenhausen as they arose. Monday, he ruled prosecutors could present limited testimony on the Legenhausen abduction to further their goal of identifying Carter as Mr. Pilius' killer and to explain to the jury the circumstances of his arrest.

To that end, Colonel Tomlin, head of special operations for the city police, took the stand yesterday to describe his chance encounter with Carter.

He said he was driving to his appointment in an unmarked black Buick. He said he was heading northbound on Gay Street past Orleans Street and then on to Ensor Street, when the trunk popped open in a car ahead of him and a man inside began waving a white cloth. He said a marked police car was between his car and the car with the open trunk.

At Madison, the car turned left and "the man in the trunk jumped out, hit the ground and rolled," Colonel Tomlin said.

As the car took off with the marked police cruiser in pursuit, the colonel pulled up to the man and opened the passenger door. "At first he looked a little reluctant, but when he saw the uniform he got in," the colonel testified.

Eventually they found the marked cruiser on Eager Street, and a patrol wagon then appeared with Carter inside, Colonel Tomlin said, adding that Mr. Legenhausen identified Carter as his kidnapper.

Mr. Legenhausen asked Carter, "What did you do with my wallet?" the colonel testified. He said Carter answered, "I threw it away."

Detective Kevin Davis then took the stand to say Carter confessed that night to kidnapping Mr. Legenhausen at the parking garage at the Harbor Park Cinema -- the same garage where prosecutors believe Carter had abducted Mr. Pilius three days earlier, on Feb. 11.

Carter said he heard on a police scanner around 11 p.m. on Feb. 13 that authorities were looking for him, Detective Davis testified. Carter said he bought a blue steel .38 revolver for $45 the following morning at Brookfield Avenue and Whitelock street in Reservoir Hill, the detective added.

Over the objection of defense attorney John S. Deros, Detective Davis said Carter then said he went to the third level of the parking garage and forced Mr. Legenhausen into the car trunk.

When the man managed to open the trunk before they even exited the garage, Carter said he told him, "Don't do it again," according to the detective's testimony.

Carter said police arrested him on Aisquith Street following the man's escape, the detective testified.

Detective Davis said he asked Carter during the interview how he obtained the identification number needed to withdraw money with Mr. Pilius' automatic teller machine card. Carter said that he got it from the victim.

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