Friend says suspect told her that he shot police officer

April 13, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Sun Staff Writer

A Baltimore woman testified yesterday that Mark Phillip French told her that he shot and critically wounded a Baltimore County policeman who had stopped his pickup truck Oct. 31.

Lisa M. Morton, of the 1500 block of N. Bethel St., passed the information on, and it eventually led police to Mr. French and his 17-year-old girlfriend.

Mr. French, 29, of the 300 block of George Ave., Essex, is on trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court, charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Officer James E. Beck early last Halloween, the armed robbery of an Essex man whose complaint led Officer Beck to stop the pickup, and handgun charges.

Heather Lynn Kendall, 17, of the 700 block of Aldworth Ave., Dundalk, pleaded guilty Friday to armed robbery and using a handgun when she posed a a prostitute, robbed the Essex man and then drove off in Mr. French's truck.

The defense called no witnesses yesterday after the close of the prosecution's evidence. The jury is to hear instructions and closing arguments today.

The K-9 officer was shot three times and nearly died after he stopped a pickup truck in the 8500 block of Pulaski Highway. The truck matched a description police broadcast after the 3 a.m. robbery. The robbery victim testified Monday that he had been robbed at gunpoint by a female hitchhiker and an armed man who followed them in a truck.

Ms. Morton, who described herself as a friend of the defendant, said Mr. French came to her home on the morning of the robbery and showed her three guns. Later, when a TV news program broadcast a police sketch of the female suspect, she said Mr. French became nervous.

"He asked me, 'Does the sketch on the news look like Heather?' I said, 'Don't tell me that you shot the police!' Mr. French answered, 'It was either me or him.' "

The next day, she told a security officer at a hospital where she had an appointment, and the information was relayed to police.

Questioned about her motivation, Ms. Morton, breaking into tears, said she decided to turn him in because her brother had been killed in a street shooting in 1990, and no one had come forward with information.

"I was thinking about how me and my mother felt when my brother got killed, and how a lot of people had known stuff about my brother getting killed, and how they could have called homicide and told anonymously," she said. "Didn't nobody say anything. And I was just thinking about how [Officer Beck's] family felt, and I wanted to help him, 'cause didn't nobody help us."

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