Stabbing charges dropped when victim misses trial Defendant accused in '84 in wife's death

November 11, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

Prosecutors dropped charges yesterday against a Severna Park man accused of stabbing his girlfriend -- nine years after he was charged with killing his wife -- because the victim failed to show up for trial.

But Bernard Day, 68, of the 100 block of McKinsey Road, will remain at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital indefinitely because the stabbing violated terms of his 1990 release from the hospital, said assistant state's attorney William Mulford II.

Mr. Day was found not criminally responsible Feb. 2, 1987, in the stabbing death of his wife, Shirley Day, three years earlier and committed to state psychiatric facilities. He was released in May 1990.

He was charged with assault with intent to murder in April for allegedly stabbing Doretha Gross during an argument at her house in the first block of McKinsey Road.

Mr. Mulford said yesterday he was forced to ask Circuit Court Judge Bruce C. Williams to drop the charges because he could not find the victim.

"We cannot locate the victim, and I cannot assure this court that we will be able to locate her any time in the immediate future," Mr. Mulford told the judge.

Maureen C. Gilmer, head of the victim-witness assistance program, said Ms. Gross was at the courthouse and ready to testify Nov. 4 when the trial originally was scheduled. But it was postponed until yesterday because Mr. Mulford was involved in another trial.

Ms. Gilmer said Ms. Gross agreed to return to testify last week when she was given the new trial date.

"She seemed very willing and very cooperative," Ms. Gilmer said.

A spokeswoman at the Glen Burnie McDonald's restaurant where Ms. Gross works said she was not scheduled to work yesterday and

that she has no home telephone.

Neither the McDonald's employees nor friends at the Severna Park home where Ms. Gross used to live could provide a home address.

Alan Kreshtool, Mr. Day's lawyer, said after the hearing that he would seek his client's release.

"He ought to be released. He didn't do anything wrong here," Mr. Kreshtool said.

He said his client stabbed Ms. Gross in self-defense.

Mr. Kreshtool said he would have told a jury that Ms. Gross, 30, told Mr. Day she didn't want to see him any more.

When Mr. Day went to get his clothes from a second floor bedroom, she followed him with a kitchen knife, threatening to cut his groin and making slashing motions, Mr. Kreshtool said. His client grabbed the knife from her, and she cut her fingers when she tried to get it back, Mr. Kreshtool said.

Mr. Mulford said he had no evidence to support any part of Mr. Day's version of events.

In Mr. Day's earlier encounter with the law, he was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, whose body was found May 8, 1984, in a neighbor's yard near the family home on East Joyce Lane in Severna Park. He was committed to state hospitals.

He was released after Perkins doctors convinced a Circuit Court judge that Mr. Day had healed to a point where it would be "counterproductive" to keep him hospitalized.

His son, Bernard Day Jr., who was in the courtroom yesterday, along with his aunt, said he was "just relieved it's over."

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