Cockeysville man is convicted of murder

October 04, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 24-year-old Cockeysville electrician was convicted of second-degree murder yesterday in the death last year of a woman he met at a party and offered a ride on his motorcycle.

After a weeklong trial, an Anne Arundel Circuit Court jury found Shane McKinley Merryman of the 800 block of Warren Road guilty in the July 25, 1993, death of Kristin Kathleen Haynes, 20, a McDonald's restaurant clerk from Cockeysville.

Merryman was acquitted of first-degree murder and second-degree rape.

The state medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and said Ms. Hayes died of several blows to the head. Prosecutors had argued that Merryman raped Ms. Haynes, beat her until she died to cover up the rape and then hid her body.

Merryman originally faced the death penalty in the case, which was transferred to Anne Arundel County at the request from his lawyers, Richard Karceski and Thomas Bernier.

But the death penalty was ruled out last week when Judge Martin A. Wolff found that the state presented insufficient evidence for the jury to consider first-degree rape, which was the aggravating factor required for capital punishment.

The verdict, which means the defendant faces up to 30 years in prison, saddened and shocked the victim's parents, John and Pam Haynes of Woodbine.

"I don't know that I would use truth or justice to describe what went on in there," Mr. Haynes said as he left the courthouse.

He said he was surprised that the jury, which deliberated eight hours over two days, acquitted Merryman of rape, given that prosecutors had argued his daughter was raped and then slain to cover it up.

Assistant State's Attorney John Cox said he would seek the 30-year maximum at sentencing Nov. 4.

Ms. Haynes' decomposed body was found a month after the murder in a secluded spot near the Genstar Quarry off Beaver Dam Road.

The body was covered with debris and naked from the waist down.

Baltimore County Homicide Detective Michael Peregoy focused on Merryman because he was the last person to see the victim alive, according to testimony. On the night she was killed, Merryman rode off with her on the back of his motorcycle after a party at his house.

Merryman later persuaded a friend to lie to the police by telling investigators that he had let Ms. Haynes off that night at a phone booth, alive and well, the detective testified.

But Detective Peregoy discovered the lie, confronted Merryman with it and falsely told the defendant his fingerprints were found at the scene, according to testimony. With that, Merryman said Ms. Haynes had died when he hit a bump on his motorcycle and she flew off.

In testimony last week, Merryman stuck to that account -- saying he panicked when he stopped the bike and saw Ms. Haynes' lifeless body. Jurors said they did not believe Merryman -- but that prosecutors also failed to prove the victim was raped or that the slaying was premediated, a requirement for a first-degree murder conviction.

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