Lab tests seek link to double slaying Suspects go to trial in bank robbery case

September 30, 1996|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Because of an editing error, an article about bank robbery suspects in Monday's editions incorrectly identified where police found one piece of evidence, a videotape of the movie "Point Break." The tape was found in the home of the suspects in the 4400 block of Forest View Ave. in Baltimore.

The Sun regrets the error.

Two brothers suspected in a 1995 double slaying at Loch Raven Reservoir go to court on federal bank robbery charges today, as Baltimore County authorities await results of FBI lab tests they hope will link the brothers to the killings.

Although police have named Michael Zenone, 27, and Anthony J. Zenone, 30, as suspects in the deaths of Vernon A. Smith and Vincent B. Young, the question of when -- or if -- homicide investigators will have enough evidence to charge them remains unanswered.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

"We are doing a sophisticated and highly technical analysis of physical evidence," said Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey. "This is a process that can often take weeks or months. We are using FBI labs that other jurisdictions also use, and those jurisdictions could have more urgent needs."

The brothers were arrested and charged in three area bank robberies in a raid May 4 at their Baltimore home that turned up an assault-style rifle and other items police say are linked to the slayings.

Opening statements on the three bank robbery charges against the brothers are scheduled for this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Lawyers from both sides say they expect the jury trial to end by Friday.

"We don't have a lengthy defense planned," said Andrew J. Graham who is representing Anthony Zenone. Neither he nor Gerald Ruter, lawyer for Michael Zenone, would comment further on the trial.

The brothers are charged with robbing Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Co.'s branch on White Marsh Boulevard on April 12, First Virginia Bank on Joppa Road in Towson on April 26 and First National Bank of Maryland in Arnold on Sept. 2, 1993.

According to federal court documents, First National Bank of Maryland was robbed by two men, one wearing a mask of former President Richard Nixon and one a mask of former President Ronald Reagan.

Police said the robbery was similar to robberies depicted in the movie "Point Break" -- a videotape of which was found later in the Severna Park home where the brothers lived at the time of that robbery -- with masks of the two former presidents.

Attorneys filed motions to suppress all evidence taken during the May 4 raid and arrest, saying the search went beyond the scope of the warrant, but a judge ruled against that motion.

If convicted on the three federal bank robbery charges, the brothers could each be sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Baltimore County homicide investigators are still working to link the brothers to the slayings of Young and Smith, whose bodies were found June 15 in shallow water near the Warren Road bridge. Young, 26, was shot to death with an assault-style rifle; Smith, 46, was beaten to death.

Lawyers for both brothers declined to comment last week on the murder investigation.

The raid turned up a rifle that ballistic tests show had been used in the killing and in a Feb. 24 bingo hall robbery in East Baltimore, police said.

Police also are poring over other evidence they say links the brothers to the slayings, including blood and a Donald Duck cap recovered from the scene.

Pub Date: 9/30/96

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