Troopers testify they handled Tracy arrest properly

June 19, 1994|By Joe Mathews and Darren Allen | Joe Mathews and Darren Allen,Sun Staff Writers

Two Maryland state troopers testified Friday in Carroll Circuit Court that they had acted properly and had made no offers of leniency during the November 1987 arrest of Brian Matthew Tracy, who was later convicted of murder.

Tracy, who has served six years of his two life-term sentence, has charged that prosecutors, police and Carroll Circuit Judge Donald J. Gilmore, now retired, deprived him of several constitutional rights.

He is seeking to have his convictions overturned, his sentence vacated and his case retried.

Tracy's charges prompted hearings on the trial that concluded with yesterday's testimony. Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. said he would rule on the matter after reviewing several documents in the case, though he gave no firm date for a decision.

Concerning the state troopers, Tracy had charged that he was not aware of his rights and was not allowed to clothe himself properly during his arrest on an unusually cold November night.

Trooper 1st Class John Hall and Sgt. Steven V. Brudelski maintained yesterday that they had made Tracy aware of all his legal rights. They also said they had warmed up their cars and provided the suspect with a blanket as they transferred him to the Westminster state police barracks that night.

Tracy charged that when one trooper questioned him after the Nov. 22 slaying of 17-year-old Richard Purman, he confessed because the trooper led him to believe he would be treated lightly by the judicial system.

Tracy said that while he was giving a false story to the trooper, the trooper stopped him and told him his co-defendants were saying Tracy shot young Purman.

The trooper who questioned Tracy did not appear for testimony yesterday.

As in previous sessions, yesterday's was tense. The parents of both Richard Purman and Tracy attended.

Tracy was shackled and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt commemorating the history of the Indianapolis 500 auto race.

At the first half of the post-conviction hearing on April 11, Tracy said he thought he would escape having to serve any time behind bars for the slaying of the youth, who was a South Carroll High School student.

But through years of appeals, Tracy, who was 16 at the time of the murder, has been able to reduce his original sentence of two life terms plus 40 years by only two decades. He is serving the time at the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore.

Tracy and Brian Jordan, 23, of Columbia were convicted in 1988 of young Purman's murder. While both men initially received the same sentence, last month a panel of Anne Arundel County circuit judges reduced Jordan's time to life in prison.

On Nov. 22, 1987, Jordan, Tracy and a 16-year-old girl had escaped from the Sykesville Shelter Home. They called Richard Purman, an acquaintance from high school, and persuaded him to give them a ride.

In Taylorsville, Tracy shot young Purman in the chest, intending to steal his 1976 Chevy Malibu. When the car wouldn't start, the three returned to the shelter, where they were arrested.

The girl cooperated with the state's attorney's office, and her case was handled in Juvenile Court.

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