Slaying suspect ordered to grow beard

August 10, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

Scotland Williams, the 31-year-old Arnold man charged in the slayings of two prominent Bethesda lawyers, must start growing a beard immediately, Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner ordered yesterday.

"He'll be required to grow his beard to at least one-quarter inch in length so we can take samples for comparison with evidence found at the murder scene," said Frank R. Weathersbee, the Anne Arundel County state's attorney.

Mr. Weathersbee said the evidence consists of hairs "about one-quarter inch in length . . . and are consistent with beard hairs of an African-American male." He would not say exactly where the hairs were found.

Mr. Williams was charged in May with two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of Julie Noel Gilbert, 48, and her husband, Jose E. Trias, 49. Their bodies were found face down on a bed in their vacation home at Winchester on the Severn, shortly after noon on May 16, police said. Each had been shot once in the back of the head.

Mr. Williams has been held without bond at the Anne Arundel County jail since his May 19 arrest in front of his home in the 800 block of Bradford Ave.

According to charging documents, Mr. Williams broke into the couple's home, in the 1600 block of Father Urban Lane, through a sliding glass door. Police estimate the couple died between 9 p.m. May 14, and 9 a.m. May 15.

Police said they were tipped off to Mr. Williams when a security camera at the Maryland National Bank branch at Glen Burnie Mall photographed him using Mr. Trias' credit card to withdraw cash about 9:40 p.m. May 15.

He also was photographed May 17, at Elkridge National Bank on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, police said. The third time he tried to use the card, at the Maryland National Bank branch in the Southdale Shopping Center, it was rejected, police said.

Mr. Williams was arrested after Detective Edward Stratton recognized the man in the pictures as the one he had arrested in connection with several Severna Park burglaries.

Mr. Williams was released from jail two months before the slayings. He had been convicted on a theft charge in an unrelated case in March.

Colleagues called Ms. Gilbert one of the country's top 10 tax attorneys. Her specialty was dealing with tax-exempt organizations and she worked at an international law firm in downtown Washington.

Mr. Trias, a legal scholar, worked for the Hughes Institute, the largest private philanthropic organization in the country with $7 billion in assets. It funds basic medical research.

The couple had been married nine years and lived in Bethesda. They spent most weekends at their $725,000 home on the banks of the Severn River.

More pre-trial motions are scheduled for Sept. 20. The trial is to start at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 29 in Circuit Court in Annapolis.

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