911 tape played for murder trial Caller was buying batteries in store

February 18, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- The voice on the phone was frantic.

"There's a man here in real bad shape," said Kenneth Carter, moments after he and his 13-year-old daughter arrived at the Deep Run Hardware Store in Melrose last March 25 to buy a pack of batteries.

"He's bleeding from his ear, from his mouth. I think he's dead. He's just laying here in a pool of blood," Mr. Carter told the 911 dispatcher.

A tape recording of Mr. Carter's call that night -- when he and his daughter discovered the body of the store's owner, Charles W. Therit -- was played to an Anne Arundel Circuit Court jury yesterday, the second day of the death-penalty trial of the man charged in the killing.

Defendant Michael C. Bryson Sr., 26, of Manchester, showed no emotion as the two-minute tape was played to the jury over the objections of his attorneys.

On the tape, Mr. Carter is given CPR instructions.

"The man has just been shot with a shotgun," Mr. Carter said in response.

Prosecutors played the tape during the testimony of Richard Beard, the Carroll County Emergency Operations Center dispatcher who took Mr. Carter's call.

He was one of nine witnesses called by State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman and Assistant State's Attorney Clarence "Buddy" Beall in what is expected to be a six-week trial.

Mr. Bryson, 26, faces charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery, theft, battery and two counts of homicide in the commission of a felony.

He was arrested April 6 after state police discovered his fingerprints on a spent, 20-gauge shotgun shell that they found on the floor of the hardware store. The alleged murder weapon was found in the woods near the store two days later.

Mr. Therit's killing was the county's only homicide last year.

Most of yesterday's testimony focused on customers in the store in the minutes before Mr. Therit, 51, was shot.

One of the customers who testified yesterday said she noticed a stocky man with a dour expression who was looking at shotguns and ammunition while she and her husband were buying dust masks and other supplies.

Asked if she could identify the man she saw in the store, she pointed at the defendant.

A waitress at the Bachman Valley Inn told the jury that she had seen Mr. Bryson there the day of the shooting. A cook at the restaurant testified that he might have heard Mr. Bryson tTC discussing the name "Charlie" with others a day or so after the murder.

Today, Judge Warren B. Duckett Jr. is scheduled to watch a 90-minute, videotaped deposition of Garland Bryson, the defendant's deceased father. He gave the statement to prosecutors in December in the event ill health prevented him from testifying in person. He was awaiting a liver transplant when he died last month in Pittsburgh.

Defense attorneys Ronald Hogg and Richard O'Connor of Ellicott City will argue against statements made in the videotape before Judge Duckett rules on whether he will allow the jury to see it. If he does, the jury will hear Garland Bryson's testimony later in the trial.

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