Quarry murder trial opens in Anne Arundel

September 22, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A Cockeysville electrician took a 20-year woman for a ride on his motorcycle last summer, beat her until she was dead, buried her in a pile of debris, lied to police and tried to frame someone else, a prosecutor told an Anne Arundel Circuit Court jury yesterday.

Shane McKinley Merryman, 24, of the 800 block of Warren Road, Cockeysville, is being tried before Judge Martin A. Wolff on first-degree murder charges in the July 25, 1993, death of Kristin Kathleen Haynes of Cockeysville.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty in the case, which was transferred to Annapolis from Baltimore County at the request of Mr. Merryman's lawyers.

Mr. Merryman's defense lawyer told the jury that Ms. Haynes died accidentally by falling off his motorcycle and that the defendant merely covered up the death.

In opening statements yesterday, assistant state's attorney John Cox told jurors Mr. Merryman met the victim at a party at his house and rode off with her on his motorcycle to a secluded spot near the Genstar Quarry off Beaver Dam Road. They were accompanied by two friends in a car, he said.

The other couple left Mr. Merryman alone with Ms. Haynes at the quarry and she was never seen alive again, Mr. Cox said.

He said Mr. Merryman hit her on the head during or after he sexually assaulted her, then dragged her body to a secluded spot and covered it with debris.

Mr. Cox said that Mr. Merryman tried to get a friend, David Jeffers, to tell the police that the defendant had dropped off the victim -- alive and unharmed -- at a phone booth near the quarry on the night of the murder.

But Mr. Jeffers "cracked" and admitted to police that his initial story was a lie, Mr. Cox said.

Mr. Merryman also obtained identification cards of Mesfin Girmax, a former Morgan State University student whose apartment he was renovating, and planted the identification cards near the body.

"As it turned out, Mr. Girmax was out of the country at the time of the murder," Mr. Cox said.

Mr. Merryman's lawyer, Richard Karceski, said that the victim, a clerk at a Cockeysville McDonald's, hit her head and died when she fell off of his motorcycle that night.

He said Mr. Merryman was afraid to go to the police -- and later made up a story for investigators -- because he had been drinking and was afraid of what would happen if he told the truth.

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