N.Y. man gets 20 years in Arnold teen's death ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY -- Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

February 25, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A 24-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., man was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday for the execution-style slaying of a Broadneck High School senior who was shot to death in Annapolis two years ago during an argument over a gun.

Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge H. Chester Goudy Jr. ordered Eddie Rivers Jr. to serve the maximum for second-degree murder after a brief hearing in which Rivers denied he killed Darryl Downs, 18, of the 300 block of Ternwing Drive in Arnold, in December, 1990.

Rivers said yesterday he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Nov. 19, 1992, only to avoid the possibility of a first-degree murder conviction and a harsher sentence.

Police found Mr. Downs sprawled on the front lawn of a home in the 1800 block of Copeland St. in Bywater Mutual Homes, a cooperative housing project off Forest Drive, about 5 a.m. Dec. 20, 1990. He died at Anne Arundel Medical Center less than an hour later.

Richard Duden III, Rivers' attorney, told the court yesterday that the prosecution's case against Rivers centered on the testimony of a co-defendant, Jamal Hayes, 19, also of Brooklyn, N.Y. Hayes pleaded guilty to assault in the incident and spent seven months in jail after he agreed to testify that he saw Rivers shoot Downs.

Mr. Duden said that his client was raised by his mother, who was on welfare, that he left home when he was 14, struggled to earn his General Equivalency Diploma and has a one-year-old daughter. He gave the child's photo to the judge.

Rivers said he pleaded guilty to the lesser murder charge because he knew the circumstances were stacked against him and that he would have faced a life sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.

"I'm not going to let my pride supersede my intelligence," he said.

He said the victim was shot accidentally when Hayes tried to pistol whip him.

Police said Mr. Downs, Rivers and Hayes had taken a cab to Copeland Street, where they got out. Two shots were fired, one of them striking Mr. Downs, police said. Hayes and Rivers left in the cab.

Kathleen Rogers, an assistant state's attorney, said Rivers was the trigger man, shooting Mr. Downs with a small-caliber handgun that never has been found.

She said the shooting was over a dispute about a gun that was missing from one of the Annapolis-area homes that Rivers and others had used to store weapons and drugs.

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