Suspect in 2 killings may face death-penalty trial

January 06, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

County prosecutors may seek the death penalty for a 22-year-old man charged with slaying his fiancee and another woman last week in Severn.

Darris A. Ware, whose last permanent address was in Fort Pierce, Fla., is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the Dec. 30 shooting deaths of Betina Krista Gentry, 18, and Cynthia Vega-Allen, 22. The case qualifies for the death penalty because there is more than one homicide, said Assistant State's Attorney William Roessler.

"This case meets the threshold qualification," he said. "But other factors need to be considered, such as the strength of the case and any mitigating and aggravating factors."

He said the state's attorney's office also will meet with the families of the victims to determine how they feel about the death penalty. Mr. Roessler said it could be another 30 days before a decision is made.

District Court Judge Clayton Greene Jr. Tuesday revoked Mr. Ware's $250,000 bail after prosecutors requested a new bail hearing.

"During the initial bail review hearing, it was not brought to the judge's attention that the case met the death penalty qualifications," Mr. Roessler said. "So we asked for a new hearing."

Mr. Ware, who is being held in the county detention center, was arrested after Ms. Gentry's mother found the bodies in Ms. Gentry's home in the 1900 block of Bastille Court about 1:30 p.m. Ms. Gentry was pronounced dead inside the home and Ms. Vega-Allen died Friday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

According to charging documents, Ms. Gentry was shot once in the head and Ms. Vega-Allen was shot once in the head and once in the torso. Neighbors told police that Mr. Ware had been seen coming and going from the home during the morning before the shooting.

On the day of the shooting, an unidentified caller told Bryant Kevin Gentry, Ms. Gentry's brother, that Mr. Ware was at his sister's home and Mr. Gentry drove to the house to confront Mr. Ware.

When he arrived, Mr. Ware allegedly threatened him with a gun and both men left the house. Mr. Gentry drove to the Glen Burnie barracks of the Maryland State Police and asked for help. State police are investigating that plea for help to determine whether the troopers handled the incident properly.

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