Death penalty to be sought in 2 murders

November 05, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

Baltimore County prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a Baltimore man convicted Wednesday of fatally shooting a popular Catonsville barber and one of his customers -- even though the jury found him innocent of premeditated murder.

A jury in Montgomery County, where the case was moved,

deliberated for 13 hours Tuesday and Wednesday before returning its verdict for Jeffrey Damon Ebb, 26, of the first block of S. Morley St.

Ebb was convicted of two counts of felony murder for killing barber James E. Brodie and customer Michael S. Peters Jr. during an attempted robbery Nov. 28 at Mr. Brodie's shop in the 400 block of Winters Lane. Ebb was found innocent of first-degree premeditated murder. However, prosecutors can seek the death penalty because felony murder is also a capital offense if the defendant pulled the trigger.

The jurors also found Ebb guilty of second-degree attempted murder in the wounding of 27-year-old Kevin Michael Johnson, and of assorted other charges.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled Wednesday before Montgomery County Circuit Judge William M. Cave.

Assistant State's Attorney Angela R. White said the prosecution will seek the death penalty for the murders of Mr. Brodie, 57, of the 400 block of Winters Lane, and Mr. Peters, 20, of the 4400 block of Kathland Ave.

Ebb was identified by two customers in the shop, she said, and by a woman who had entered with him. The woman, Stephanie Stevenson, said Ebb had given her a ride to see Mr. Brodie, but she claimed that she didn't know of the planned robbery.

About 6 a.m., according to the testimony, Ebb entered and ordered everyone to the back of the shop, where Mr. Brodie had Mr. Peters in the chair. When Mr. Brodie turned around to see what was happening, Ebb shot the barber several times.

Ebb shot Mr. Peters once and Mr. Brodie again, then tried to get into the cash register, Ms. White said. Mr. Johnson was shot when he attempted to draw his own handgun.

County police identified Ebb as a suspect after a gun seized from a man arrested in the city on Dec. 4 was routinely tested and matched the ballistics of bullets from the barbershop homicides, Ms. White said.

When the man identified Ebb as the seller of the gun, county police got an arrest warrant. Ebb had been paroled in April 1992 after serving four years of an 11-year sentence for beating a man with a bat.

In his closing argument, Assistant Public Defender Rodney C. Warren questioned the witnesses' ability to identify Ebb. Two of them initially picked other men from police photographs, and a third couldn't choose anyone until after the police broadcast a photograph of Ebb as the suspect.

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