Judge denies plea for details about a police informant Defense likely to claim entrapment

June 04, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A defense lawyer seeking details about a police informant who helped investigators with a solicitation to commit murder case was turned down by a Howard County judge yesterday.

Assistant Public Defender Louis Willemin said he wanted a police file to show how the informant "played the system" to his own benefit in the case of former Marine James Alexander Page Jr.

Page, 27, of Greenbelt, stands trial Monday for solicitation to commit murder and obstruction of justice in Howard Circuit Court.

At a pretrial hearing yesterday, Mr. Willemin asked Judge J. Thomas Nissel to order police to release information about their past dealings with the informant in the Page case.

"It is substantially likely that my defense will be one of entrapment," Mr. Willemin said. "The [informant] created this crime as an agent of the state."

Judge Nissel denied the request after Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Murtha said he does not plan to call the informant as a trial witness.

Police started investigating Page on the solicitation charge in October while he was awaiting trial for rape in the county Detention Center, Cpl. Steven Martin said.

The corporal said he got a collect call from another inmate, who had worked as an informant with other investigators in the past, to give information about Page.

Detective Lee Lachman, who was assigned to the case, said the informant told him that Page wanted the victim and her boyfriend killed to prevent them from testifying against him.

Mr. Lachman said he later gave the informant a telephone number that Page could use to reach an undercover state police investigator posing as a hit man.

State Police Trooper George Forsythe said he received three calls in early November from the informant, who then handed the telephone to Page. Police said Page allegedly offered the trooper $3,000 to kill the two witnesses.

Page was given a suspended prison sentence for perverted sexual practices for having oral sex with a 17-year-old Columbia girl in August. He was acquitted of first-degree rape during a trial in March.

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