Defendant denies confessing to slaying

July 15, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A man charged in the Dec. 26 robbery and slaying at the Cockeysville Sizzler took the witness stand in Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday to repudiate the statement that is the basis of the state's case against him.

"I was never at that particular location," said William Francis Tyler, 44, of the 3800 block of Belle Ave.

Mr. Tyler is charged with murder, use of a handgun and seven counts of armed robbery.

Detective Philip Marll testified that Mr. Tyler admitted serving as getaway driver and lookout in the robbery and pulling back a woman who tried to flee the restaurant with her children.

According to his statement, Mr. Tyler admitted taking about $60 from one table of diners but said he didn't know anyone had been shot until the next day, the detective said.

Mr. Tyler, who worked for a utility subcontractor until his arrest Jan. 14, said his statement looks like a confession because he used the word "I" throughout, but he said police told him to do so.

He said co-worker Robert Lee Berry told him about the case and that police "asked me to put the words down in Mr. Berry's own words, as if he was saying it." He testified that he lent Mr. Berry his wife's car the day of the robbery and that he cooperated for fear that she would get in trouble.

Mr. Tyler, who is being tried alone because of the statement, was the only defense witness yesterday.

After testimony ended, Judge John Grason Turnbull II denied defense attorney Harold I. Glaser's motion for acquittal.

John Dwayne Tillman, a 29-year-old employee at the restaurant, was killed by one of the masked robbers, who had demanded that he point out the restaurant's manager. The men wanted to get into the cash register and the safe, according to trial testimony. They were unsuccessful but did rob seven of the 33 patrons and employees in the restaurant, in the 10100 block of York Road.

Patrons and employees testified Tuesday that Mr. Tillman was shot in the head during the robbery, although he had not resisted. None of the witnesses identified Mr. Tyler.

Also charged with murder are Mr. Berry, 26, of the 3100 block of Sequoia Ave.; Aaron Delano Evans, 21, of the 1500 block of Lochwood Road; and Mr. Evans' cousin, Wayne Alphonzo Brooks, 22, of the 3700 block of W. Coldspring Lane. They will be tried later.

The state is seeking the death penalty against Mr. Berry, who is accused of shooting Mr. Tillman with a .38-caliber revolver.

In other testimony yesterday, Officer Peter Hanlon said that on Jan. 4, he stopped a car belonging to Mr. Tyler's girlfriend for speeding and found Mr. Tyler and the three other defendants inside.

Officer Hanlon said he saw a gun barrel under the passenger seat and seized the weapon. It turned out to be a pellet gun that belonged to the girlfriend's son and matched a description given by several of the Sizzler victims, who said one of the robbers had held a long-barreled black gun.

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