Prisoner who won appeal will await retrial in jail

July 09, 1995|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A Reisterstown man whose first-degree murder conviction in the slaying of a Westminster man was overturned on appeal will await his retrial in the Carroll County jail instead of state prison.

In ordering state prison officials to release Timothy Cumberland, Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold on Friday denied bail for the 25-year-old. Before his last trial, he had been held on $100,000 bail.

Even at that level, Mr. Cumberland wouldn't be able to post bail, said Judson K. Larrimore, the assistant public defender representing him. A bail review could be heard in "the near future," he said.

Mr. Cumberland was returned to the Carroll County Detention Center Friday afternoon.

Shortly after the Court of Special Appeals overturned Mr. Cumberland's conviction in March, Carroll prosecutors announced they would seek to retry him in the Jan. 28, 1993, shooting death of Gregory Lamont Howard in Westminster.

Mr. Howard's death was the first drug-related slaying in Westminster's history, police said at the time. Police said Mr. Howard was killed that night during a soured drug deal, although Mr. Howard was not involved in the transaction.

The state's second-highest court said in reversing Mr. Cumberland's 1994 conviction that Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. gave the jury in Mr. Cumberland's case an inappropriate answer to a question the panel asked during deliberations. The court said Judge Beck's statement about the meaning of intent in first-degree murder was misleading and confusing.

Mr. Cumberland was the only one of the three men charged in Mr. Howard's death to be convicted of first-degree murder, even though testimony showed he didn't fire the fatal blast, drive the getaway car or own the murder weapon. Mr. Cumberland was in a car with a woman and two men when Mr. Howard was shot beside the vehicle.

He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Mr. Larrimore said Friday that state prison officials refused to release him -- even though Mr. Cumberland's conviction had been overturned -- unless a judge ordered them to do so.

Co-defendants Samuel Allen Miller, who fired the fatal shot, and Daniel Justin Leonard, who owned the weapon, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in September 1993. Miller is serving a 30-year sentence and Leonard is serving 10 years.

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