A Baltimore County jury deliberating the fate of Nigel Antonio Carter was sent home last night without rendering a verdict on whether the 17-year-old defendant robbed and killed Christina Marie Brown Sept. 25 near Owings Mills Mall.
Judge Christian M. Kahl, who has presided over Mr. Carter's three-day Circuit Court trial, told the eight men and four women to resume deliberations today.
In closing arguments yesterday, Mr. Carter's defense lawyer angered the prosecutor by suggesting that Ms. Brown, 28, had caused her death by struggling and grabbing the
defendant's handgun during the robbery.
Defense lawyer Gerald A. Kroop told the jury that the prosecution had failed to prove that Ms. Brown was the victim of robbery, first-degree murder and first-degree felony murder. He said that, according to Mr. Carter's confession, Ms. Brown struggled even after the youth had broken off his robbery attempt.
"He doesn't know what he's up against here. She not only doesn't run, but she grabs the gun," Mr. Kroop said. The shooting, therefore, was accidental, he told the jury.
Prosecutor Steve Bailey angrily disputed Mr. Kroop's suggestion.
"He actually stood before you and argued to you that that man is the victim," Mr. Bailey said loudly, pointing at the defendant. "Poor Nigel. Poor 6-feet, 2-inches tall, 180-pound, gun-toting Nigel, had to shoot that girl. That's offensive."
Ms. Brown's body was discovered on a secluded path between the Owings Mills Mall parking lot and the nearby Metro station. Ms. Brown had been shot once in the back of the head at close range. Her purse, containing about $120, was taken.
Police arrested the defendant Oct. 7 and said that his cousin, Kevin Simmons, had told them that Mr. Carter had said that he had "capped" a woman because "she gave him a rough way to go."
After his arrest, Mr. Carter was questioned for more than three hours. According to testimony, he denied any involvement at first, but then said that he had robbed and killed Ms. Brown, calling her death an accident.
The defense argued that Mr. Carter's confession was coerced. And in a pretrial hearing, the youth said he had made up the confession to appease detectives.
Police said that Mr. Carter then led them to the dead woman's purse and told them that the murder weapon had been passed on to his father. His father showed police where he disposed of the weapon, but police could not find it.
If convicted, the defendant would face a maximum sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.