Carter guilty in Hopkins garage abduction

January 23, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Dontay Carter, already convicted in two abductions in his February crime spree, was found guilty of attempted murder yesterday in the kidnapping of a physician from the parking garage at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury deliberated for five hours before finding Carter guilty of attempted second-degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and weapons charges in the Feb. 7, 1992, abduction. The jury refused to convict Carter on the more serious charge of attempted first-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The East Baltimore teen-ager also was found not guilty on two conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors said they were not disappointed that the jury came back with its verdict on attempted second-degree murder, a crime which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

"Depending on what he gets on the Pilius case we're rather satisfied," said Assistant State's Attorney Thurman Zollicoffer. Carter faces the prospect of life in prison with no chance for parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder in the Feb. 11 beating death of Vitalis V. Pilius, a father of four from Catonsville. He also faces up to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty in the Feb. 14 kidnapping of a jeweler that led to his arrest.

Judge John N. Prevas has not set a date for sentencing in any of the cases. Carter's next scheduled court date is Feb. 15, when his lawyers will argue that he should be granted a new trial in the Pilius case.

Beefed-up security measures were in place again yesterday for Carter's second appearance in a courtroom chosen for its lack of windows. The change in courtrooms was ordered after Carter escaped Monday through a bathroom window in Judge Prevas' chambers. He was recaptured after 30 hours on the lam.

Carter was whisked from the courtroom just seconds after yesterday's verdict.

The victim, Dr. Daniel Ford, was choked and left for dead in the trunk of his car. One juror said deciding between attempted first-degree and attempted second-degree murder produced a "battle royal" in the jury room.

Juror Roy Maynor said the panel had been evenly split on the issue, but that he and others had been persuaded to change their positions from favoring first-degree to second-degree.

Mr. Maynor and another juror, Mary Ann Riley, said the jury was initially unaware that Carter had escaped during a break in the trial Monday. They said they looked out a window in the jury room in the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse and saw police and other commotion. "Nobody really thought he had escaped. We thought he'd grabbed a gun from somebody or something," she said.

The jury was told later in the trial that Carter had escaped, but both jurors said the matter did not receive much mention in deliberations.

Ms. Riley said she could not help but hear from co-workers and from people on the street that Carter had escaped, but she said she followed the judge's order to avoid news coverage.

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