Accused to attend funeral Murder suspect to mourn his father

February 02, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- Garland Bryson, who was expected to be called as a prosecution witness at his son's capital murder trial later this month, died Sunday at a Pittsburgh hospital, court officials said yesterday.

His son, defendant Michael C. Bryson Sr., of Manchester in Carroll County, will be allowed to attend memorial and funeral services, said Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Warren B. Duckett Jr.

Several Anne Arundel County sheriff's deputies will accompany the defendant to the funeral, the judge said.

Michael Bryson, 26, is on trial for the shotgun killing last March 25 of Melrose hardware store owner Charles W. Therit. He has been held in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center since Jan. 7, when jury selection began.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys impaneled a trial jury and five alternates yesterday before adjourning the case until Feb. 16. The adjournment, however, already was planned and was not due to Garland Bryson's death.

"Mr. Bryson was a very nice gentleman," State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said yesterday of the defendant's father.

Garland Bryson's death was not unexpected. He had severe liver trouble since before his son's arrest in April and was awaiting a liver transplant, court records show.

His condition had worsened considerably last week, and by Friday he was in the Pittsburgh hospital, Mr. Hickman said.

The exact cause of the father's death was not available yesterday.

Garland Bryson's body is expected to be brought to the Eckhardt Funeral Chapel in Manchester today, according to a spokesman there. Funeral arrangements were incomplete last night, and other information about Garland Bryson was unavailable.

Garland Bryson was one of more than 90 potential prosecution witnesses in his son's trial, which is expected to last about six weeks.

The father's death will not significantly affect the state's case against the son, according to Mr. Hickman.

Because of his illness, Garland Bryson was questioned by prosecution and defense attorneys in December. The videotaped deposition will likely be played for the jury, Mr. Hickman said.

Michael Bryson was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and several other counts after state police investigators found fingerprints matching his at the scene of the Therit murder. Mr. Hickman is seeking the death penalty for only the third time since capital punishment was reinstated in Maryland in 1975.

The trial was moved from Carroll to Anne Arundel because of pre-trial publicity.

Michael Bryson's attorneys, Richard O'Connor and Ronald Hoog of Ellicott City, could not be reached for comment on new evidence in the case.

Although a four-man, eight-woman jury was chosen yesterday, the trial was immediately postponed until Feb. 16 so that Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Hoog could interview three last-minute prosecution witnesses today.

The three witnesses, including convicted kidnapper David Teddy Yoswick, are former or present Carroll County Detention inmates who, sources said, heard Michael Bryson brag about shooting Mr. Therit.

Yoswick is serving 40 years of a life sentence for his part in the abduction and stabbing of Baltimore businessman Frank Allan Storch near Sykesville last February. He is seeking a reduction in his sentence, court records in Westminster show.

Mr. Hickman declined to discuss the witnesses' testimony.

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