Man serving life sentence asks for new trial in officer's death Baltimore policeman died after car hit him in 1986

June 26, 1996|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge held a hearing yesterday on a request for a new trial for Leonard Cirincione, whose car struck and killed a 55-year-old Baltimore police officer 10 years ago.

Cirincione, 39, who was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Officer Richard Miller, did not testify yesterday. But his attorney, Richard M. Karceski, argued that the state had failed to bring up important testimony from several psychiatrists who had evaluated Cirincione. He said the state didn't call the doctors because they knew the evidence was "a minefield that they didn't want to walk through."

Assistant State's Attorney Timothy Doory said Cirincione did not tell the same story on the witness stand that he told psychiatrists about striking the officer and the effect of the drug PCP.

Cirincione testified in his 1986 trial that he was high on PCP when his car struck and fatally injured Miller, who was directing traffic. Miller survived for 5 1/2 weeks on life support. He died on July 21, 1986. Cirincione, a drug abuser since high school, testified he had smoked up to eight PCP cigarettes within 12 hours of the incident and that he blacked out shortly before hitting Miller.

Officer Paul Aires Jr., 53, who was Miller's partner, said yesterday: "It takes a long time to get something like this behind you and now this situation of a possible new trial coming up makes it all brand new again.

"I still get apprehensive at the anniversary of his death, and I feel that way now. I just wish we could put this behind us."

Judge David B. Mitchell gave the attorneys until the end of September to review testimony and submit written arguments.

Pub Date: 6/26/96

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