Killer asks appeals court for reprieve Judges hear arguments while victim's kin protest

September 06, 1996|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Court of Appeals yesterday heard arguments to spare condemned killer Flint Gregory Hunt from the gas chamber, as police officers and family members of his victim protested outside that Hunt's execution had been delayed too long.

Hunt, 37, has been sentenced twice to die for the Nov. 18, 1985, shooting of Baltimore police Officer Vincent J. Adolfo. The court announced May 31 that it would hear Hunt's final state appeal, delaying his execution less than two weeks before it was to take place. Gov. Parris N. Glendening has announced he does not plan to block Hunt's execution.

The arguments were heard after a rally of police officers, many of whom wore blue ribbons that said, "Remember Vince," outside the courts building in Annapolis. Ginni Wolf and Betty Miller, whose husbands -- state police Cpl. Theodore D. Wolf and Baltimore police Officer Richard T. Miller -- were slain in the line of duty, also attended to offer support.

So did Donna Dillon, whose daughter Melody Pistorio was one of the three teen-agers Thanos killed.

"I've had closure," said Dillon, who now works with crime victims for the Baltimore County Police Department. "I can go on with my life without worrying about appeals. Times like this, my heart just goes out to the Adolfos."

A number of Hunt's relatives and friends also appeared in the courtroom but had little to say about the arguments. "The family's just here to support Greg," said friend Margaret Coe.

In arguments to the court, Hunt attorney Fred Bennett focused on two issues that he said should lead to a new sentencing hearing, if not a new trial.

He said two jurors on the panel that sentenced Hunt to death the second time -- in 1988 -- did not disclose information that might have led defense attorneys to disqualify them.

One juror had been accused of being an accessory to shoplifting and did not say so when asked several times whether the juror ever had been charged with a crime; another, whose home had been broken into, did not raise his hand when prospective jurors were asked whether they had been victims of crime.

And Bennett pointed to a 1986 memo by Baltimore Assistant State's Attorney Marvin "Sam" Brave, which indicated that prosecutors had told a key witness in Hunt's case that they would bring his cooperation to the attention of a judge in a separate assault case.

Hunt's lawyers say the jury should have been told about any arrangements that might have motivated McNair's account.

Assistant Attorney General Gwynn X. Kinsey Jr. called the issues "repackaged," telling the judges that both points are barred from consideration because they weren't raised earlier.

Pub Date: 9/06/96

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