Murder trial to use video of hazing activity Detective says tape shows assault

April 28, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County prosecutors trying three men Tuesday on murder charges in a hazing incident will be armed with a videotape, which a detective said shows the defendants assaulting a teen.

Dennis Steven Roche, 16, of Huntingtown was found dead in a bathtub in August, after passing out during a night of heavy drinking at a home in Lyons Creek Mobile Estates in Lothian.

Police say the youth died in a hazing incident captured on videotape that began after he fell unconscious during a "drinking contest." After he passed out, his hands and feet were bound behind him and he was kicked, sprayed with a garden hose, stripped of his pants and prodded with a wooden brush, according to testimony at a pretrial hearing.

He was left outside, where he lay on his chest and suffocated, according to court records.

An autopsy performed shortly after the Aug. 13 incident determined that the youth, a Calvert County high school student, died of positional asphyxia, a form of suffocation.

Brian Michael Wagaman, 19, of Chesapeake Beach, Daniel Lowell Corridean, 20, of Lothian and Ryan Gabriel Massey, 21, of Upper Marlboro are scheduled to be tried separately Tuesday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and second-degree sex offenses.

They remain under house arrest on $75,000 bond, according to court records.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the case last week.

But Detective David McDonald, an Anne Arundel County homicide investigator, told Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. in a pretrial hearing April 12 that the investigation began after paramedics found the Roche youth dead in Mr. Corridean's home about 3 p.m.

The youth had been bound withelectrical cord and had been kicked and scratched, partly from being dragged into Mr. Corridean's house in an attempt to revive him by throwing him in the bathtub, the detective said.

He testified that the resuscitation efforts started after Mr. Corridean woke and discovered the Roche youth had stopped breathing.

An autopsy showed the victim had a blood alcohol content of .42 percent, according to testimony.

Detective McDonald said that Mr. Corridean told him what happened in an interview shortly after he arrived at the home.

Mr. Corridean, who like the co-defendants has no criminal record, permitted police to search the house and pointed out the plastic trash bag where the videotape had been discarded, according to testimony.

"He wanted to be clear that he had nothing to hide," Detective McDonald told the judge.

Detective McDonald last week declined to discuss the case or what was on the videotape.

But in his April 12 testimony, he said the victim and the defendants had been to a rock concert at Wilmer's Park in Brandywine, in Prince George's County, and came back to Mr. Corridean's home at about 1: 30 a.m.

They had been drinking a mixture of peach schnapps, vodka, Scotch whisky and Bailey's Irish Cream, he testified.

Eight or 10 people were partying at the home, according to testimony. But about 3: 30 a.m., "Denny" Roche left the party to sit in front of Mr. Corridean's trailer home, where he passed out, Detective McDonald testified.

Someone dragged the Roche youth to the back yard because "Mr. Corridean didn't want neighbors to see [the youth] vomiting," the detective said.

The detective testified that all three defendants are shown on the videotape taking part in the hazing that followed.

Ben Wolman, Mr. Wagaman's lawyer, said Friday there is no evidence to show any intent to kill the victim, but the tape -- sealed by Judge Thieme so that copies distributed to the lawyers may be used only for trial preparation -- could prove to be damaging to the case.

Mr. Wolman said Friday that he is engaged in plea negotiations with assistant state's attorneys, Frank Ragione and M. Virginia Miles.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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