Man found guilty of brother's murder Victim hit 100 times in Catonsville home

November 20, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A 40-year-old Catonsville man told a Baltimore County jury that he killed his brother in their family home last March -- striking more than 100 blows, according to the autopsy -- but was too drunk to remember why.

"There's no issue in this case who committed this crime. The issue is, what crime was it?" Assistant State's Attorney Susan H. Hazlett declared in closing arguments yesterday.

The jury took seven hours to decide that Michael Eugene Hebron's crime was first-degree murder. He could received a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Police found the body of Hebron's brother, Clifton L. "Pete" Hebron, 54, in a blood-spattered bedroom of the home in the 100 block of Wesley Ave. He had been beaten to death with objects at hand -- including a television antenna, a videocassette recorder, a vase and a baseball bat.

Hebron said he went to call police the next morning because his brother hadn't awakened. He recalled that they had fought, but said he didn't know he had killed Pete.

Ms. Hazlett asked for a first-degree murder verdict because of the number of blows and because Michael had told his sister and several other people that evening that he was going to kill his brother.

Under cross-examination by Assistant Public Defender Patricia L. Chappell, witnesses said that the brothers were always fighting and that they didn't take Michael's threats that night seriously. The defense attorney argued for a lesser verdict of manslaughter or second-degree murder.

But Ms. Hazlett said that the pattern of blood on the sheets and walls showed an "ambush" in bed, belying Hebron's claim that his brother punched him in the mouth. She also noted that the victim wasn't wearing his artificial leg and said he wouldn't have started a fight without putting it on.

Several members of the Elks Club on Winters Lane, where Pete tended bar, said Michael came in looking for his brother on March 25, saying, "I hope you said goodbye to Pete, because I'm going to kill him tonight."

But "they were always kidding around like that," said Charles Hardy, of the 100 block of Winters Lane.

Dennis Anthony Flemming, who planned to stay with the brothers that night, testified that when he arrived, he heard a noise, and then, through the open bedroom door, heard Pete say, "My head!" as Michael stood over him, swearing and raising an antenna by the rabbit ears.

"I hollered at Michael. . . . It was like he was in a daze," Mr. Flemming recalled. "Then he picked up a VCR and picked it up over his head and slammed it down."

Michael Hebron had been drinking pints and fifths of Thunderbird wine before the killing, according to testimony, and afterward was drinking and discussing football.

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