Murder defense: Intent was to scare

January 25, 1994|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

A teen-ager charged as the gunman in last May's fatal shooting of an off-duty Baltimore police officer was merely trying to scare the officer, not rob him, the defendant's lawyer told a Baltimore Circuit Court jury yesterday.

"That was stupid. That was naive. But it's not felony murder," defense lawyer M. Brooke Murdock said at the start of Herbert "Squeaky" Wilson's trial.

Officer Herman A. Jones Sr., 50, was killed in a shootout early May 26, 1993, in a Chinese food carryout in East Baltimore. Two other teen-agers who pleaded guilty this month to second-degree murder and other charges could get 50 years in prison.

Prosecutor Mark Cohen told the jury yesterday that ballistics tests linked a bullet recovered from Officer Jones' leg to a .38-caliber revolver that Mr. Wilson, 18, acquired the night of the shooting. He said Mr. Wilson and his cohorts targeted the off-duty police officer, who was wearing a windbreaker over his uniform.

The prosecutor then told the jury that under the state's felony murder law, the alleged gunman is guilty of first-degree murder because the victim was killed during the commission of a felony -- attempted robbery.

Ms. Murdock told the jury that Mr. Wilson might be guilty of carrying a gun, but that he is not guilty of murder. She said Officer Jones' death was "a story of boys, immature, stupid, naive boys who are attracted to the glamour of guns."

She noted that the bullet that killed Officer Jones by piercing an artery near his hip has not been recovered, and she suggested that one of the two others present might have used the officer's 9-mm gun to fire the fatal shot. Seeking to delay the start of the trial, Ms. Murdock said her client was having difficulty understanding the proceedings. She said Mr. Wilson is mildly retarded and has an IQ of 74.

Judge Richard T. Rombro refused to delay the trial, but he ordered court medical officials to examine Mr. Wilson today to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

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