Psychiatric exam set in murder case Man is accused of killing ex-fiancee

May 20, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

A man accused of shooting his former girlfriend to death i Glen Burnie on Monday will undergo a psychiatric evaluation before bail is set in his murder case, a District Court judge ruled yesterday.

In an abbreviated hearing in Annapolis, Judge Joseph P. Manck didn't allow the lawyer representing Gregory Edward Byrd to complete a sentence before consulting all attorneys privately and issuing his decision.

The evaluation, which will be performed at a hospital yet to be determined, will take about a week. Mr. Byrd will then come back before the judge for his bail review.

Mr. Byrd's parents and his lawyer, Michael E. Kaminkow, declined to comment. The 29-year-old Lansdowne man is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Loretta Lynn Shifflett, 23, at her home in the 7800 block of Twin Ridge Drive.

"It is a very tragic occurrence," Mr. Kaminkow said. "It touched a lot of people."

Ms. Shifflett was shot four times in the chest and arms with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun Monday afternoon outside her home as her relatives and neighbors watched. She was pronounced dead at North Arundel Hospital.

Police said Ms. Shifflett had broken off her engagement to Mr. Byrd several weeks ago.

Authorities statewide searched for Mr. Byrd for 27 hours before he surrendered when Salisbury police surrounded an apartment building where he was staying.

Police said Salisbury officers recovered the gun used in the shooting, but Detective David Harp of the Anne Arundel homicide unit would not say where the weapon was found.

He said the white 1986 Oldsmobile that Mr. Byrd allegedly drove was found in a parking garage at the Stouffer Hotel on Pratt Street in Baltimore. He said a friend drove the suspect to Salisbury.

Court officials said yesterday that Mr. Byrd operates Baltimore Process Service, which he set up at his parents' home in the 1700 block of Wilson Ave. in Lansdowne.

At the start of the hearing yesterday, Mr. Kaminkow began relating the events leading to his client's capture, noting that Mr. Byrd had considered suicide while he was on the run. But Judge Manck quickly cut him off and held a whispered conference at the bench with Mr. Kaminkow and Assistant State's Attorney William Katcef, then ordered the psychiatric evaluation.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Kaminkow, who said he was in contact with his client while authorities mounted a manhunt, declined to elaborate on the suicide comment or to say anything about his client's flight from police. Salisbury authorities said Mr. Byrd surrendered after talking to his lawyer.

Court records show Mr. Byrd had four convictions from 1986 to 1989 in Anne Arundel and Howard counties. He also has failed to appear seven times on traffic charges, court officials said.

At the time of the slaying, Mr. Byrd was on probation stemming from a theft conviction in Howard County. Court records show that the state Division of Parole and Probation considers him in violation of his probation because he has failed to keep up restitution payments.

In 1988, Mr. Byrd was found guilty of stealing jewelry from a Howard County home where he was installing a water bed.

He was placed on five years' probation and ordered to pay $9,450 to the victim.

Court records show that as of February, he still owed more than $4,300. Court officials in Anne Arundel County said during the bail hearing yesterday that Mr. Byrd is still in violation.

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