Youth appeals conviction in Basu carjacking death

July 21, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Maintaining that he is innocent, a Washington youth serving a life sentence for the carjacking murder of Pam Basu filed court papers to appeal his conviction yesterday.

The attorney for 17-year-old Bernard Eric Miller contended that "untruths" stated by prosecutors and rulings by the trial judge prevented his client from receiving a fair trial.

"We continue to maintain that he is not guilty of all the charges," said Laurack D. Bray, a Washington attorney for Miller.

Miller was sentenced to life in prison in June, following his conviction for the Sept. 8, 1992, slaying of Dr. Basu, who was forced from behind the wheel of her car and dragged to her death near her Savage home.

Yesterday, Mr. Bray filed a notice of appeal in Howard Circuit Court to get a transcript of Miller's trial sent to the state Court of Special Appeals for further proceedings.

Later, legal briefs will be filed and a hearing will be held for the appeal.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Michael Rexroad said he is not surprised by the appeal but is "confident our case is going to be affirmed."

Mr. Bray accused the prosecution of misconduct, saying it made statements to the jury that were not supported by evidence. For example, he said, the prosecution never proved that Dr. Basu's 22-month-old daughter, who was in the back seat, was "tossed" from the car by Miller.

The attorney also contended that rulings by Judge Dennis Sweeney hampered his defense against the charges. He said the judge prevented him from showing that Miller was forced to go along with the carjacking by a co-defendant.

Co-defendant Rodney Eugene Solomon, 27, of Washington goes on trial Aug. 2 in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Mr. Bray also criticized the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for not having a presence at Miller's trial to see that the proceedings were fair.

Bowyer Freeman, president of the NAACP's Howard branch, said the organization never received complaints from anyone -- including Mr. Bray -- that Miller's rights were violated. Therefore, he said, the group had no reason to become involved in the case.

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