Plan to pay rent in cash noted at trial

December 03, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

After the check for the rent on his new Rodgers Forge apartment bounced, Louis Hill III called the rental office the morning of Oct. 26, 1992, and promised to have the $485 -- in cash -- before the close of business.

But by midafternoon, he was under arrest and charged in the robbery of Farmers Bank & Trust Co. in Randallstown, where four employees were shot as they lay on the floor of the bank vault. Tellers Dorothy J. Langmead and Anastasia "Stacey" George died.

Mr. Hill, a 26-year-old businessman, is on trial in Harford County Circuit Court in Bel Air on two murder charges, two counts of attempted murder, and armed robbery and weapons charges.

Mr. Hill's request for a change of venue was granted automatically because Baltimore County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him as the alleged trigger man.

As the third day of testimony ended yesterday, both sides stipulated for the jury that Mr. Hill, who ran a cleaning service, had been notified by the Stevenson Lane Apartments about his October rent check. He called the office Oct. 26 and promised to make the payment that day in cash.

Bank records introduced Wednesday showed that Mr. Hill had $26.07 left in an account at the Farmers Bank branch he is accused of robbing. He had withdrawn $1,385 over the previous six weeks.

Prosecutors also introduced yesterday a receipt for a $226.75 charge on Mr. Hill's Visa card for a Cobray Mac-11 semiautomatic pistol in Virginia in December 1990.

Maryland State Police firearms expert Joseph Kopera said three spent bullets recovered after the shootings had been fired from the gun. On cross-examination, he told defense attorney David P. Henninger that he couldn't say whether the weapon would leave a residue on the shooter's hand and that he hadn't tested for that.

In a statement to Baltimore County police, Mr. Hill denied going into the bank but said he drove two men there, waited outside, then drove them toward the Baltimore Beltway.

He and Benjamin Franklin Boisseau Jr. were cornered by police in a parking lot four miles from the bank minutes after the 2 p.m. robbery. Police recovered $5,863 in cash, the gun, ammunition, clothing, surgical gloves and other items.

Mr. Henninger, who has pointed the finger at Boisseau and the unidentified third man, emphasized in cross-examination yesterday that no residue from the gun or blood from the four victims was found on his client's hands, clothing or car.

None of the prosecution evidence has put the murder weapon in Mr. Hill's hand -- a key element for the death penalty under Maryland law. Boisseau, 26, of Baltimore, received multiple life sentences on first-degree murder convictions after a March trial in which he was identified as the accomplice.

Called by prosecutors Wednesday, Boisseau invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to protect his appeal of those convictions. At his own trial, however, he testified that he was leaving the bank when Mr. Hill suddenly opened fire on the women and that he was afraid for his own life.

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