Man draws 30 years for abusing teen

June 15, 1995|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun Staff Writer

A convicted sex offender charged with the murder of an 11-year-old boy pleaded guilty yesterday to sexual abuse of a teen-ager and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

But an attorney for Warren C. Berry said his client will go to trial next week in the slaying of Michael Shawn Gasque, arguing that a statement in which Berry allegedly implicated himself should not be allowed into evidence.

The body of the 11-year-old Edmondson Village boy was found in an abandoned shed Dec. 18, 1992. He had been stabbed a number of times and sexually assaulted.

Berry was charged in the slaying, released when evidence was insufficient to hold him and charged again -- 10 months after the boy was slain.

After the murder charge was dropped, prosecutors say, Berry sexually abused the 13-year-old he befriended while playing basketball in Northeast Baltimore; Berry took the youth to his home, where he bathed and had sex with him throughout the night.

Berry, 32, yesterday pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree sex offenses against the 13-year-old, receiving consecutive 15-year sentences for each from Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman.

While being questioned in that case, Berry made a statement about the Gasque boy.

But Berry's attorney, William M. Monfried, said his client's statement about the killing was coerced by detectives and an assistant state's attorney who offered Berry "help" if he would "tell the truth" about the boy's killing.

"That's the first time anybody ever offered help to Warren, so he took it," Mr. Monfried said. "Warren has always, always told me he did not do this."

Prosecutors have filed notice that they will seek a sentence of life without parole if Berry is convicted in the slaying.

Michael's father, Tim Gasque, said yesterday he was relieved at Berry's 30-year sentence but disappointed his son's case was dragging on. If convicted, "he should spend the rest of his life in there," Mr. Gasque said. "My son's never coming back."

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