New trial rejected by judge

October 11, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A man called a "monster" by the state's attorney has failed to persuade a Carroll judge to grant him a new trial on child sexual abuse charges.

In a written order filed late Friday, Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. said he disagreed with the 44-year-old Westminster man's claim that his defense attorney's incompetence made his 1993 jury trial unfair.

The man -- whose name is being withheld to protect the privacy of his three young victims -- said Edward T. Barry, then Carroll assistant public defender, failed to properly file a motion requesting that the case be broken into three trials, one for each of the accusers.

The man was arrested in August 1992 after a four-month state police investigation revealed that he had been fondling the 10-year-old daughter of a family friend for at least two years.

That investigation also revealed sexual abuse of his 15-year-old niece when she was 9 and of a 9-year-old niece.

According to Judge Burns' order, Mr. Barry did not file the motion at first because he believed he could persuade the jury that the case against his client was nothing more than a plot hatched by the three accusers, who were the key prosecution witnesses at the man's trial.

"Barry stated that he would be able to prove some degree of collusion among the victims, and if such collusion existed, trying the cases together would be an advantage," Judge Burns wrote.

Ultimately, Mr. Barry changed his mind and -- after the deadline for such a motion had long passed -- he asked Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. to divide the cases into three trials.

The judge refused, based on the tardiness of the motion. After a three-day jury trial -- in which Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman compared the defendant to Judas and called him a monster -- the man was convicted.

He is serving 20 years in a state prison for sexually molesting the two nieces and the friend's daughter.

Judge Beck imposed a sentence of 130 years on the defendant after saying that he -- like the jury of seven women and five men that convicted him Feb. 10, 1993 -- believed the testimony of the three young victims.

The judge suspended 40 years of the sentence and ordered the man to serve seven 10-year sentences concurrently with the 20 years imposed on two counts of child abuse and a second-degree sexual abuse count.

Although it was ultimately unsuccessful, Mr. Barry's decision not to file a motion to separate the case "was clearly a trial tactic on his part and will not be second-guessed by the court," Judge Burns wrote.

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