No bail for man facing new trial on charge of killing wife

August 09, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A Harford Circuit judge decided yesterday not to modify the no-bail status of a Baltimore man whose first-degree murder trial ended with a deadlocked jury last week.

Judge Cypert O. Whitfill cited pending arson charges against Harry Phillip Gross III and said he had grave concerns about granting even a property or corporate bond because of Mr. Gross' history of treatment for paranoia.

Harford State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly opposed any change in Mr. Gross' bond status. He told Judge Whitfill that he will retry Mr. Gross on first-degree murder charges. Judge Whitfill declared a mistrial Thursday after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the five-day trial of Mr. Gross, who is accused of fatally shooting his wife in March 1993 and trying to make it look as if she committed suicide.

The panel of seven men and five women told the court that it was deadlocked after numerous polls. Mr. Cassilly said seven jurors favored a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder; four said Mr. Gross was guilty of second-degree murder, and one juror remained undecided.

Mr. Cassilly strongly opposed property bond because the elderly mother of Mr. Gross wanted to put up as collateral her home in the first block of S. Ellwood Ave., Baltimore.

Defense attorney David Henninger argued yesterday that his client had cooperated with sheriff's investigators between his wife's death in March 1993 and his indictment nine months later, and has kept every appointment with police and the court.

Mr. Cassilly said that when detectives went to arrest Mr. Gross on an arson charge in November, they found him hiding in the basement of his mother's house.

"The basement light bulbs had been loosened to make it more difficult to find him," said Mr. Cassilly.

Mr. Cassilly contended at last week's trial that money and jealous obsession motivated Mr. Gross to shoot his wife. He said Mr. Gross had hired a private investigator to follow his wife, Clara Jeanne Gross, because he suspected she was unfaithful. The prosecutor said Mrs. Gross had planned to leave her husband and remove him as a beneficiary on her $50,000 life insurance policy.

Mr. Henninger said the gun discharged as his client tried to stop his wife from shooting herself. Mrs. Gross died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Mr. Gross is also awaiting trial on a charge of burning his Edgewood mobile home to collect an insurance claim.

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