Charges may be dropped against slain girl's lover Prosecutors say case is inadequate

September 24, 1993|By Alan J. Craver and Ed Heard | Alan J. Craver and Ed Heard,Staff Writers

Howard County prosecutors say they expect to drop charges against the man accused of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old Columbia girl whose body was found in a culvert last month.

Prosecutors simply don't have much of a case against the 28-year-old Baltimore man without the court testimony of the victim, Tara Allison Gladden, said Michael Weal, chief of the county State's Attorney's District Court division.

Police investigators interviewed Tara July 16 after her mother reported her daughter's yearlong relationship with Curtis Aden Jamison. But they will not be able to tell a judge what Tara said about the relationship because that would violate the court's hearsay rules, Mr. Weal said.

"We're not in a real good position to go forward with this case," Mr. Weal said.

Mr. Jamison, of the 3300 block of Oakfield Ave., Baltimore, is charged with fourth-degree sexual offenses, or fondling, perverted sexual practices, battery and making false statements police.

He is to stand trial in Howard District Court on Nov. 23, when all of the charges are expected to be dropped.

State's Attorney William R. Hymes said he will review the case before making the final decision to drop the charges. Prosecutors also would be permitted to refile charges against Mr. Jamison at a later date.

The likelihood that the charges will be dropped is no surprise to David Harvis, a Columbia attorney representing the Gladden family, who refused to comment for fear of jeopardizing the homicide investigation.

"Rather than bring a case to trial that you think you're not going to win and let a perpetrator get off, they can dismiss charges prior to the trial until they get a better case," Mr. Harvis said.

"[The Gladden family] would be very disappointed if charges were to be dropped and never pursued," he said.

George Tindal, a Baltimore attorney for Mr. Jamison, declined to comment on the case. But he asked The Sun not to publish this story until closer to Mr. Jamison's court date to avoid putting pressure on his client, prosecutors and the Gladden family.

"It might be better on everyone involved," Mr. Tindal said. "To be bringing it up too soon may cause needless frustration."

Sgt. Gary Gardner, a spokesman for the county Police Department, said he doesn't think the dismissal of the charges "will necessarily hinder the investigation of Tara's death."

Officials at the state medical examiner's office haven't determined how or when Tara was killed. Officials would not comment on the status of the autopsy except to say that the case is pending.

Tara was reported missing July 22. Her decomposed body was found in a culvert under busy Little Patuxent Parkway near the Columbia Mall on Aug. 17, three weeks after police filed sex abuse charges against Mr. Jamison.

Mr. Jamison turned himself in to county police Aug. 3, when he was asked about Tara's whereabouts. Police have not named Mr. Jamison as a suspect in the girl's death. He was released on $10,000 bond pending trial.

Prosecutors are moving ahead with a second case involving Mr. Jamison and a 13-year-old Columbia girl, a friend of Tara's from their Vantage Point neighborhood. Charged with one count of second-degree rape, he is scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 13.

The girl met Mr. Jamison in April 1992, according to court documents. He told her that he was 20 years old, the records say, and the girl told Mr. Jamison that she was "about 18."

Investigators learned about Mr. Jamison's relationship with the younger girl from Tara, when her mother discovered the relationship and reported it to police, court records say.

Mr. Jamison began calling Tara after he got her telephone number from the other girl, records say. He later began coming to Tara's home while her parents were at work.

In a third case, Baltimore prosecutors say it's unlikely they will reactivate charges filed against Mr. Jamison for a relationship he had with a 13-year-old Baltimore girl between November 1991 and March 1992.

The case was put on the District Court's inactive docket, meaning that the charges would be removed from Mr. Jamison's record if he avoided criminal activity for a one-year period.

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