Convicted killer due retrial, but judge keeps bond at $200,000 to prevent flight Alford plea made in 1988 killing

July 27, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff writer

A Circuit Court judge yesterday refused a request to lower the bond of a convicted killer who won a retrial in May.

Judge Raymond G. Theime Jr. let the current bond of $200,000 remain for Bernard L. Ward Jr.

Ward pleaded guilty under an Alford plea to the 1988 slaying of Edward Brewer and is serving a life term. Under such pleas, the defendant does not admit guilt, but concedes that the state has enough evidence to convict.

At a hearing yesterday, Ward's attorney, Fred Heyman of Bel Air, said Ward poses minimal risk of flight because he is anxious to be retried. If released, he said, Ward has work lined up with a Laurel construction company and will be able to live with his girlfriend in Dundalk.

"He has no incentive to leave because he wants to stand trial," Mr. Heyman said said.

But Ron Naditch, a longtime prosecutor who retired from the state's attorney's office but is handling the case on a special retainer basis, said a recent investigation by the police further implicates Ward and that he poses a serious risk of fleeing if released.

Mr. Brewer was beaten and stabbed to death in an abandoned house on Crain Highway in Glen Burnie around midnight on Nov. 15, 1988. His nude corpse was discovered a month later.

Ward was arrested Dec. 16, 1988, in Tallahassee, Fla., after a witness told police he saw him with Mr. Brewer in Baltimore the night the victim disappeared.

After his arrest by Florida sheriff's deputies, Ward gave a statement implicating himself, but he later claimed the statement was coerced by deputies.

Ward won a retrial May 28 when the Court of Special Appeals upheld Circuit Court Judge Robert H. Heller Jr.'s ruling that he deserved a new trial because of incompetent counsel.

In his opinion, Judge Heller cited four pages of lapses by Ward's former attorney, George Kariotis, noting the lawyer failed to question witnesses, didn't object once during a four-day trial and met with Ward only briefly before the trial.

Mr. Kariotis, who has since been disbarred for unrelated reasons, was unavailable yesterday.

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