Drug link still probed in slayings

December 16, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Authorities are continuing their investigation into whether Baltimore drug figures may have been involved in the fatal shooting of a bail bondsman and his 3-year-old son in April on a downtown street, sources close to the case said yesterday.

The gunman, Levon Stokes, 21, was sentenced yesterday to life without parole for the April 8 murder of 23-year-old Angelo Garrison Sr., who was shot dead outside his car in front of his bail bond business in the 200 block of Park Ave.

Baltimore Circuit Judge John C. Themelis also sentenced Stokes to 20 years for a handgun violation and another 10 years for a manslaughter conviction in the death of the bail bondsman's son, Angelo Garrison Jr. Judge Themelis ordered all sentences to be served consecutively.

Judge Themelis said he agreed with Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms' description of the shooting as "a form of gangsterism," but he added, "The unfortunate point is that the defendant does not appear to be a gangster." Stokes had a prior drug conviction and admitted to police that he was a drug dealer, but he had no prior violent acts on his record.

A jury convicted Stokes Nov. 1 after a trial in which Mr. Simms gave no motive for the slayings.

Mr. Simms later said he did not present a motive because he did not want to muddy the case with a "minitrial within a trial."

After the jury convicted Stokes, Mr. Simms, who has given no reason for why he chose the Stokes case as one to prosecute personally, said the case was still under investigation, an indication that authorities suspect at least one other individual was involved.

Mr. Simms did not elaborate, but a source said that the probe involves drug figures.

Authorities were told that the killing may have stemmed from a love triangle, but several factors -- in addition to the brazen nature of the attack -- suggest that the shooting may have been drug-related.

Garrison, who was on probation for a 1990 felony drug conviction and was awaiting trial on drug-distribution charges when he was murdered, also was on the prosecution's witness list for a drug trial then proceeding in federal court.

Drug activity laid to Garrison had been described during the trial, in which five men were charged as being members of a West Baltimore heroin ring that operated out of the Underground Nightclub in West Baltimore.

Convicted of conspiring to distribute heroin were: Lamont "Mont" Allen, 28, Rodney Rogers, 31, and James Rogers, 28.

The men were said to be members of a drug organization headed by Barry "Black" Henderson, a nephew of convicted drug kingpin Melvin "Little Melvin" Williams, according to court records. Allen and James Rogers issued death threats against witnesses in the case, federal authorities said in court records.

A letter purportedly written by Stokes also raised the question of whether the killings were part of a conspiracy.

The letter, which was recovered during a Sept. 21 raid in a home in the 900 block of N. Patterson Park Ave., includes passages that could be interpreted as the complaints of a man frustrated that he is being abandoned by conspirators.

The letter was addressed to "Tony M." Law enforcement sources identified the Tony M as an "enforcer or shooter" on behalf of a city drug gang. He was arrested Oct. 11 and charged with the drug-related slaying of a 24-year-old East Baltimore man, but prosecutors decided not to seek an indictment in the case because of a lack of evidence, police said. He is now awaiting trial on federal drug charges, court records show.

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