Officer tells of following bloody trail At end was body of Pam Basu HOWARD COUNTY

April 15, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Howard County police officer testified yesterday that she followed a streak of blood down Gorman Road in Savage and found the body of Pam Basu.

Officer Jody Tookey was one of a series of prosecution witnesses that mapped the trail allegedly taken by two Washington men charged in the carjacking murder of Dr. Basu.

The seven men and five women of the Howard Circuit Court jury followed the trail through testimony from Horsham Drive and Knights Bridge Road, where the 34-year-old chemist's car was seized Sept. 8 as she struggled with the men, along rural roads where some of Dr. Basu's belongings were found, and later to a Carroll County carwash where the defendants cleaned blood from the stolen BMW.

Seven people, including Officer Tookey, took the witness stand yesterday -- the third day of testimony in the trial of Bernard Eric Miller, 17.

The prosecution contends that Dr. Basu's left arm became entangled in a seat belt during her struggle with the two men and that she was dragged to her death when they sped off. Her 22-month-old daughter, who was inside the car, was not injured.

Officer Tookey said that she was the first officer to respond to calls about the incident. Witnesses flagged her down and told her that a speeding BMW dragging a woman was headed west on Gorman Road.

Officer Tookey said she followed a streak of blood down the middle of Gorman Road near the Forest Ridge Elementary School until she came to the body of Dr. Basu, about one mile from the school.

The officer said that she saw a traffic sign and several posts of a barbed-wire fence knocked down along a curve on Gorman Road. The prosecution contends that the defendants drove into the fence to dislodge Dr. Basu.

The body of Dr. Basu was lying face down about 500 feet from the fence, naked from the waist down and partially wrapped in barbed-wire, the officer said. Her flowered shirt was torn up the back. The officer noticed that the woman had a severe head injury.

Some jurors flinched and quickly looked away when the prosecution showed them two poster-size pictures of the body.

Several witnesses testified about finding Dr. Basu's driver's license, briefcase and leather folder containing her car manual along roads in southern Howard County.

Randy Valonis of Sykesville told the jury that two men in a BMW came to the Eldersburg carwash where he works and ordered a $6.95 wash to clean blood that was clotted on the side of the car.

"I said, 'Man, what you got into. . . . This looks like blood,' " Mr. Valonis said. "[The driver] said, 'That ain't blood. This is BMW.' "

Mr. Valonis said the men appeared to be relaxed. Under cross-examination, however, he said that the younger man was quiet and appeared frightened.

Mr. Miller is charged with first-degree murder and 18 other charges in the slaying of Dr. Basu, who was dragged nearly two miles to her death after being forced from her car when she was taking her young daughter to preschool.

Co-defendant Rodney Eugene Soloman, 27, faces the death penalty if he is convicted. His trial has been moved to Baltimore County Circuit Court and will begin Aug. 2.

Judge Dennis Sweeney is to rule today whether the media will be provided with a copy of a videotape made by Dr. Basu's husband minutes before the carjacking. Prosecutors say that the tape shows the defendants walking by the Basu home.

Defense attorneys argued against releasing the tape, saying the publicity would make it impossible for Mr. Soloman to get a fair trial.

Lawyers for several newspapers and television stations say that the case has already received extensive publicity and that the videotape would not affect Mr. Soloman's trial.

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