Bondsman slaying plot is hinted Gunman convicted

probe continues

November 02, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Baltimore's top prosecutor yesterday suggested for the first time that at least one person in addition to the gunman may have been involved in the shooting deaths of a bail bondsman and his 3-year-old son on a downtown street last April.

After a jury found the gunman guilty in the slayings yesterday, Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms said that the case remains under investigation, a clear indication that authorities suspect at least one other individual was involved. Mr. Simms refused to elaborate on the nature of the investigation, but a source close to the case said that the probe involves drug figures in Baltimore.

During gunman Levon Stokes' trial in Baltimore Circuit Court, Mr. Simms did not specify a motive for the slayings of Angelo Garrison Sr. and his son, saying only that Stokes had set out to kill them "for whatever reason." The closest Mr. Simms came to implying that the two were killed by a hired gun came when he said that Stokes had been "on a mission."

Authorities, who were told that the killings may have stemmed from a love triangle, have been unwilling since the April 8 shooting to name a motive, but several factors -- in addition to the brazen nature of the attack -- suggest that the shooting may have been drug-related.

Garrison, who was on probation for a 1990 felony drug conviction and was awaiting trial on drug-distribution charges when he was murdered, also was on the prosecution's witness list for a drug trial then proceeding in federal court. The drug activity laid to Garrison had been described during the trial, in which five men were charged as being members of a West Baltimore heroin ring that operated out of the Underground nightclub in West Baltimore.

That trial ended with a jury convicting three men of conspiring to distribute heroin. Lamont "Mont" Allen, 28, of Reisterstown; Rodney Rogers, 31, of the Hillendale area of Baltimore County; and James Rogers, 28, were said to be members of a drug organization headed by Barry "Black" Henderson, a nephew of convicted drug kingpin Melvin "Little Melvin" Williams, according court records. Allen and James Rogers issued death threats against witnesses in the case, federal authorities said in court records.

A letter purportedly written by the gunman raised the question of whether the killings were part of a conspiracy. The letter, which ,, was recovered during a Sept. 21 raid in a home in the 900 block of N. Patterson Park Ave., includes passages that could be interpreted as the complaints of a man frustrated that he is being abandoned by conspirators.

"Now tell me, is it, was it or will it ever be worth it [?]" says the letter. "I know you are capable of paying for my attorney but you say [expletive]. Think about what you are doing before you do it.

"Take that money you got . . . [and] go get me a attorney."

The letter was addressed to "Tony M." The man said by authorities to be Tony M. was arrested Oct. 11 and charged with the June 29, 1992, drug-related slaying of a 24-year-old East Baltimore man, city homicide Detective Kevin Davis said. Yesterday, however, prosecutors decided not to pursue an indictment in the case because of a lack of evidence, Detective Davis said.

The man was summoned Friday to federal court for his initial appearance on drug-conspiracy charges, Barbara S. Skalla, an assistant U.S. attorney, said yesterday.

Garrison, 23, and his little son, Angelo Garrison Jr., were ambushed outside Garrison's bail bond business in the 200 block of Park Ave. Mr. Garrison was shot twice in the head, and the boy was shot once in the head, but prosecutors were unable to convince a Baltimore Circuit Court jury that the boy was intentionally shot. The boy's mother witnessed the shooting and identified Stokes as the assailant.

That jury found Stokes guilty of first-degree murder and a handgun charge in the bail bondsman's death and guilty of manslaughter in the 3-year-old boy's death.

Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of life in prison with no chance for parole for Stokes, an admitted drug dealer. The 20-year-old Northeast Baltimore man is to be sentenced Dec. 15.

Mr. Simms said he did not present a motive to the jury because he did not want to muddy the case with a "minitrial within a trial." After referring to the continuing investigation, he said the verdict was "an important hurdle in the process."

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