Man pleads not guilty in slaying

September 22, 1994|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

With a confession, DNA test results and fingerprints linking him to the rape and murder of a real estate agent who was showing a house last year in West Baltimore, Kenny Lamonte Brooks stood before a judge yesterday and considered pleading guilty. The plea was no bargain -- he was told he would probably be sentenced to life without parole, the toughest punishment he could receive if convicted at trial.

His mother held her hands over her face and his father hung his head. Only after whispering to his lawyer and taking nearly a minute did Kenny Brooks reach a decision. In a barely audible voice, he announced his plea: "Not guilty."

With that, the 22-year-old Baltimore man accused of murdering real estate agent Lynne McCoy invoked his right to a jury trial. A jury of eight men and four women was selected to hear the case, and a judge rejected a defense motion to throw out Mr. Brooks' confession.

Opening statements and testimony are to begin this morning in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Mr. Brooks, of the 2700 block of St. Paul St., is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape, armed robbery and breaking and entering. He is accused of arranging for Mrs. McCoy, a 57-year-old agent with O'Conor, Piper & Flynn, to show him a house in the Hunting Ridge neighborhood last Dec. 21, and then strangling her and beating her to death.

He allegedly stuffed her body in an upstairs closet of the home in the 800 block of Glen Allen Drive, and drove her 1993 Chrysler New Yorker to his hometown of Danville, Ill. There, he was arrested with the slain woman's credit cards in his pocket, court records show.

Defense attorney Richard J. Altmark refused to say why his client considered a plea even though he had nothing to lose by going to trial. Mr. Altmark previously filed insanity pleas on behalf of his client, but a psychiatrist and a psychologist from the state's Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center found him sane and competent to stand trial.

Mr. Brooks took the witness stand yesterday to say that two Baltimore homicide detectives who interviewed him Dec. 29 at an Illinois jail recited the evidence against him and promised he would not receive the death penalty if he confessed. With about a dozen of the slain woman's relatives, including her son and daughter, looking on, he said, "It already made me feel as though I've been tried and convicted, so I felt I should go along with it, because they were sparing my life."

But Judge Elsbeth L. Bothe said she did not believe his claims that detectives had made promises to obtain the confession or had denied his request to speak to a lawyer. The judge ruled the confession could be presented during the trial.

According to a transcript of his taped statement, Mr. Brooks told police he punched Mrs. McCoy and hit her head against a door jamb. "Then I had to remove her , um, underwear and sexually assault her, put her in the closet, and that's when I , um, continuously dropped an antique iron on her head," the transcript quotes him.

Mr. Brooks was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison in 1991 for a burglary committed after he visited a home with a real estate agent. In the transcript, he described the technique as his "con" and said he would leave a window open or grab a spare key to the house.

Asked by detectives why he attacked Mrs. McCoy, he said, according to the transcript, "It was just all the pressure that I felt. You know, I have twins on the way, you know, the pressure of doing something financially for them and their mother, you know. This is the holidays and I don't have nothing.

"She kept constantly talking about money and with all the other pressures . . . that's when I snapped."

Prosecutor Laura F. Mullally said the tape of Mr. Brooks' confession would be played to the jury near the end of the state's case.

The trial is expected to last four to six days.

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