2 parolees arrested in slaying

September 09, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

Police have arrested two parolees -- one convicted of murder and the other of armed robbery -- and are seeking a third man in the May 28 killing of a lawyer who was shot in the stomach during a Guilford robbery.

The three are believed to have been driving through the North Baltimore neighborhood when they spotted 46-year-old Marvin Brent Cooper returning home from a chess club meeting, police said.

A witness to the shooting identified one suspect, Keith Bernard Sterrette, 31, from a photo lineup last week, court charging papers said. Sterrette -- on parole after receiving a 12-year sentence for a 1983 armed robbery -- was arrested Wednesday night at his home in the 1400 block of McHenry St.

In an interview with homicide detectives, he "admitted driving to the 200 block of Chancery Road on May 28 and being at the location when his cousin, Gregory Sterrette, robbed and shot Marvin Cooper," court papers said.

Keith Sterrette said he was paid $10 for his part in the robbery, according to the court papers.

The robbers took Mr. Cooper's wallet and a Sharp Wizard electronic organizer worth $159, court records said.

Gregory Sterrette, 28, of the 3400 block of Bateman Ave. was charged in a warrant with first-degree murder and use of a handgun in commission of a felony. He was still being sought last night.

Keith Sterrette is jailed on the same charges, as is Derek Leone Slaughter, 30, of the 1500 block of E. Preston St., police said.

Slaughter, who was arrested Tuesday, also is a parolee.

He had been sentenced Sept. 30, 1981, to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder, according to Leonard A. Sipes Jr., a state prisons spokesman.

Mr. Sipes did not have parole dates for either Slaughter or Keith Sterrette and said it would take until today to determine their criminal histories.

District Court records show that Slaughter was convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle on Aug. 13, 1990.

Mr. Sipes said he couldn't provide information last night on whether Slaughter was found to be in violation of his parole for that offense.

Slaughter had been arrested last week on charges of possessing a handgun and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. He made bail and was awaiting trial on those charges, court records show.

Gregory Sterrette pleaded guilty on June 16 to a charge of soliciting prostitution and was given a 30-day suspended sentence and was fined $250, court records show.

Last night, Mr. Cooper's widow, Gusty Taler Cooper, said she was relieved that arrests had been made.

She described her husband as "the most gentle and sweetest and kindest and brilliant man -- the kind of man who would have offered to take those men out to dinner if they wanted food."

"There's a ripple effect to all this," she added. "Our lives have been changed forever in a devastating way. The devastation is irreparable. There are nieces and nephews that will never know their Uncle Marvin. And to not know him is truly a crime. He was an angel."

Mr. Cooper had parked his car and was walking on Chancery Road, around the corner from his Oakenshawe home, about 1:30 a.m. when he was approached by the robbers, police said.

After he was shot, Mr. Cooper -- known as a quiet intellectual who ran a small law practice in South Baltimore -- made it to a nearby house and rang the doorbell.

He later died at Johns Hopkins Hospital, although he was able to tell the first officers who arrived on the scene that he "was shot . . . during a robbery," court records said.

On June 29, a deliveryman dropping off flowers in the 4100 block of N. Charles St. found the handgun used in the shooting, police said.

The gun had been left on the lawn of a residence about eight blocks from where Mr. Cooper was shot.

The Cooper killing was one of four high-profile murders in the Guilford-Oakenshawe area this year. Police have now made arrests in each case.

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