Laurel man receives life sentence

December 07, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Laurel man who maintains his innocence in the 1987 robbery and slaying of a popular 85-year-old vendor at area horse-racing tracks was sentenced to life in prison yesterday.

Nuri Tuncer Icgoren, 41, was given the sentence in a Howard Circuit Court hearing for his conviction of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Raymond Jerman Sr. along U.S. 1 in North Laurel on Sept. 29, 1987.

The sentence, issued by Judge Raymond Kane Jr., matches the sentence issued after Icgoren's first trial in 1988. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison after the trial, but the state Court of Special Appeals overturned the verdict and ordered a second trial.

At Icgoren's second trial in November 1992, the jury was deadlocked after two days of deliberations, and a mistrial was declared.

Icgoren, a Turkish immigrant who moved to the United States in 1971, told Judge Kane that he never tried to flee the country and refused to accept numerous plea offers from county prosecutors because he is innocent. The former exercise rider at Bowie Race Course was accused of stabbing Mr. Jerman six times during an alleged robbery.

He noted that the most recent offer from prosecutors before his trial would have given him a maximum 11-year prison term if he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

"I'm not the person who did harm to him," Mr. Icgoren said. "One day, I believe, justice will be fair. I'm going to do everything to get that . . . I want to be free."

Icgoren's mother and relatives of Mr. Jerman were present during the sentencing hearing.

Icgoren's attorney, Harry Trainor of Landover, asked Judge Kane to grant a motion for a new trial, but the judge denied the request.

Mr. Trainor then asked Judge Kane to suspend a portion of the life sentence requested by prosecutors, noting that Icgoren has already served about six years in prison without any problems.

But Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kate O'Donnell called the sentence "just and appropriate" for the slaying of Mr. Jerman and the pain the death caused his family.

Ms. O'Donnell asserted during the trial that Mr. Icgoren killed Mr. Jerman in an attempted robbery. Mr. Jerman, known for selling soda, snacks and produce from a pickup at area tracks, often had large amounts of money with him to cash checks for racetrack workers.

In casting the sentence, Judge Kane noted that he could not sentence Icgoren beyond the life sentence issued after his first trial. Icgoren will be eligible for parole in about nine years.

"[Mr. Jerman] was a simple man who was respected and got along with others," Judge Kane said. "It seems to me the crime is so heinous it deserves the sentence requested by the state."

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