Woman's killer is denied in appeal to Supreme Court

May 03, 1994|By Lyle Denniston | Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court turned down yesterday an appeal by Wesley Eugene Baker, a Maryland death-row inmate who was sentenced to die for shooting a woman as her two grandchildren watched in a Baltimore County shopping mall's parking lot.

Baker was convicted of murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and use of a gun in a serious crime for killing Jane Tyson at Westview Mall nearly three years ago. Prosecutors said he ran up to Ms. Tyson, placed a gun to her head, fired and ran away with her purse. Baker and another man, Gregory Lawrence, were arrested after officers chased them along Security Boulevard and pulled them over for speeding. Ms. Tyson's bank card was found in the cab of the pickup truck being driven by Lawrence.

At the time, Baker had been on parole for nearly nine months on a conviction for robbery with a deadly weapon and of gun- and drug-possession charges.

Baker was tried and convicted in Harford County Circuit Court in 1992, and was sentenced to die by Judge Cypert O. Whitfill.

In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Baker contended that Judge Whitfill had refused to call as witnesses at the death-sentence hearing Baker's mother and a social worker who had done a study of the Baker family's troubled history. Baker had objected to having those two witnesses appear, but Baker's lawyer contended in the appeal that Judge Whitfill should have summoned them anyway, so that he would have heard some favorable testimony about Baker before sentencing him. Baker is entitled to file other challenges under state and federal law before he can be executed.

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