A 41-year-old Laurel man was convicted yesterday of the 1987 stabbing death of a popular elderly racetrack vendor, ending the defendant's third trial for the murder.
A Howard County Circuit Court jury convicted Nuri Tuncer Icgoren of first- and second-degree murder, robbery, robbery with a deadly and dangerous weapon, and assault and battery in the slaying of Raymond Jerman Sr., 85.
Judge Raymond Kane Jr. set sentencing for Dec. 7 for Icgoren, who faces the possibility of life in prison for the first-degree murder conviction. Defense attorney Harry Trainor Jr. of Landover said his client might appeal.
The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nearly six hours before reaching the verdicts that ended the eight-day trial.
On Sept. 29, 1987, Mr. Jerman, a popular snack vendor at the Laurel and Freestate horse racing tracks who was known to carry as much as $50,000 to cash checks for racetrack workers, was stabbed six times during a robbery on U.S. 1 in North Laurel.
In 1988, Icgoren was convicted of the murder after a nonjury trial and sentenced to life in prison. But the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed the conviction and ordered a second trial.
The appeals court ruled that the lower court should not have allowed certain evidence, including information showing that Icgoren had given the victim bad checks.
In the second trial in November 1992, the jury deadlocked and a mistrial was declared.
During the third trial for the former exercise rider at Bowie Race Course, nearly 50 witnesses testified.
A track employee testified for the state that he saw Mr. Jerman leave the Laurel track in his blue Datsun pickup truck about 12:30 p.m. and head north on U.S. 1. The employee said he saw Icgoren, driving a gold 1977 Ford Ranchero, speed after Mr. Jerman.
Other state witnesses said that they saw a man fitting Icgoren's description leaning inside a window of the Datsun, talking to the driver.
Icgoren, who remained in the county detention center for almost six years until he was freed on $100,000 bond in April, took the witness stand Tuesday.
He admitted being at the scene, saying he saw Mr. Jerman's truck stopped on U.S. 1 and, knowing him from the tracks, parked his vehicle and found Mr. Jerman's body.
Icgoren said that he panicked when he saw the body and drove to a Jessup gas station that had a public telephone. He said he sat in his truck at the gas station for about five minutes before he decided not to get involved. He said he drove off.
"In retrospect, I'm sure he wishes he'd stayed and either waited for police or called police," Mr. Trainor said.