2 plead guilty in Sizzler slaying, face up to 25 years BALTIMORE COUNTY

July 20, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

Two 22-year-old cousins pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday to the murder of a restaurant worker and other charges during the robbery of a Sizzler restaurant in Cockeysville on Dec. 26, though they insist that they didn't commit the crimes.

Aaron Delano Evans of the 1500 block of Lochwood Road and Wayne Alphonso Brooks of the 3700 block of W. Coldspring Lane said they wanted to plea bargain rather than risk trial.

Judge Barbara Kerr Howe accepted their guilty pleas to first-degree murder, armed robbery and use of a handgun in a crime of violence, and agreed she would sentence them to serve no more than 25 years of a possible life sentence.

At sentencing Sept. 27, defense attorneys Gerald D. Glass and William O. Goldstein will be free to argue for less, she noted.

In return for the guilty pleas, Assistant State's Attorney Jason G. League withdrew his request for sentences of life without parole, and dropped multiple charges in the robberies of other patrons.

About 33 diners and employees were at the restaurant in the 10100 block of York Road at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 26, when four masked men entered, brandishing two weapons and demanding that they hand over their money, according to testimony at a co-defendant's trial last week.

John Dwayne Tillman, 29, was fatally shot at close range after he was led from the kitchen and ordered to point out the restaurant's manager, the witnesses said.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Robert Lee Berry, 26 of the 3100 block of Sequoia Ave. Mr. Berry is accused of actually pulling the trigger.

According to Mr. League's statement of the evidence to support yesterday's guilty pleas, Mr. Berry told police: "We all had the jitters. I didn't mean to kill him." Mr. Berry also said that he put the gun in Mr. Tillman's face just to scare him, "so he could see it," according to the prosecutor, and "it just went off."

Last Thursday, a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury convicted William Francis Tyler of felony murder and seven counts of armed robbery for his role in the crime.

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