Man charged with murder for third time

September 08, 1994|By Kate Shatzkin and Michael James | Kate Shatzkin and Michael James,Sun Staff Writers Sun staff writer William F. Zorzi Jr. contributed to this report.

A 24-year-old Baltimore man with ties to notorious killer Dontay Carter was charged with a drug-related murder this week -- the third time in nine years he has been charged with first-degree murder.

Eric Lamont Simmons was under the "intensive supervision" of corrections officials after being released from prison last year. His run-ins with the law date at least to age 14, and include a 1990 conviction for riding in a stolen van with Carter, several other young men and a cache of marijuana and weapons.

Simmons was charged Tuesday with three other men, including his brother, Kenneth McPherson, 20; Daniel Ellison, 18; and a 13-year-old boy in the Aug. 31 shooting death of Anthony Bernard Wooden, 21, of the 1800 block of N. Castle St. The men were charged with first-degree murder, handgun violations and conspiracy to commit murder; the boy was charged as a juvenile.

Another of the men, Nicholas O'Neil Richards, 18, had been arrested three weeks before on charges of handgun violation and drug possession.

Officials planned to review records today to piece together Simmons' criminal history.

Leonard A. Sipes Jr., spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said Simmons had been meeting with a case agent twice a month since August 1993, when he was released from prison after accumulating time off for good behavior.

"He was under intensive supervision. . . . He never missed an appointment," Mr. Sipes said.

But court records show Simmons had frequent brushes with the law, including new convictions, while on probation in the past few years.

In November, prosecutors charged Simmons with first-degremurder and assault with intent to murder in the Halloween night killing of Lee Williams, 22. Mr. Williams was found with multiple gunshot wounds, lying across the driver's seat of a 1987 Nissan in the 2900 block of Westwood Ave.

But Assistant State's Attorney Mark P. Cohen declined to prosecute the case March 15. Last night he said only that there had been insufficient evidence to go forward.

After Simmons was arrested in a slaying case, an update would have been filed in a computerized database available to law enforcement officials, Mr. Sipes said. His case agent would have been alerted and should have informed the state Parole Commission, Mr. Sipes said.

Then, typically, the offender is charged with a probation violation, but it is unknown whether that was done in Simmons' case, Mr. Sipes said. The commission normally wouldn't take any action until the courts acted, he said.

A month before his 15th birthday, Simmons was charged with first-degree murder. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years, Mr. Sipes said. It was not immediately determined yesterday how much of that sentence Simmons served.

But in January 1990, less than five years after Simmons was sentenced, he was back in court after being caught with Carter at a tollbooth in the Fort McHenry Tunnel in June 1989. Carter in the past had given police Simmons' address -- in the 1900 block of N. Collington Ave. -- as his own and described Simmons' mother as his godmother.

Carter is serving life in prison with no chance for parole -- and another life term plus another 190 years -- for killing Vitalis V. Pilius in 1992, during a string of kidnappings from Baltimore parking garages.

Simmons served several months in prison for violating the terms of his release. Judge David B. Mitchell gave Simmons a four-year suspended sentence for the motor vehicle conviction and put him on probation for five years.

Two years later, Simmons had a new drug conviction and was sentenced to a year in prison. Probation agent Alisa Ash wrote that Simmons also had not paid restitution and court costs. He was sentenced to four years with all but one suspended, with three years of supervised probation, for the violation.

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