1 guilty in shooting of vendors

February 24, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

A teen-ager faces up to 120 years in prison after being found guilty yesterday of attempted murder in a shooting that left two downtown hot dog vendors critically wounded last summer.

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury deliberated for two hours before finding Jacoby "Be-Bop" Bennett guilty of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, use of a handgun in a crime of violence and two counts of attempted second-degree murder in the July 17 shooting.

Bennett, who turned 17 Saturday but was tried as an adult, is scheduled to be sentenced April 2 by Judge Elsbeth L. Bothe.

According to testimony in Bennett's two-day trial, he did not fire the bullets that wounded John Trikilis and Mindy Murdza who were working at a sidewalk hot dog stand outside the University of Maryland's downtown medical complex. The victims said Mr. Trikilis knocked Bennett to the ground during the robbery and the teen-ager responded by urging an armed companion to "shoot him."

Testifying in his own defense, Bennett denied telling his companion to shoot the vendors, and he said he regretted the shootings.

Charged with being the gunman in the case is Anthony W. Smith, who turned 18 in September but was also charged as an adult. He may stand trial sometime this week, said Assistant State's Attorney Laura Mullally. Also awaiting trial in the shooting are Robert D. Bernard, 24, and Tiffany R. Bennett, 22, sister of Jacoby Bennett.

The shooting left Ms. Murdza, a 22-year-old college senior, partially paralyzed in the left leg. Mr. Trikilis, whose family owns the hot dog vending business, was left with a bullet lodged in his back.

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