Annapolis man guilty in slaying Holland convicted in 1995 stabbing of Florida woman

Jury deliberates 8 hours

Prosecutor will ask for life without parole at May 14 sentencing

March 19, 1997|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old Annapolis man was convicted of first-degree murder in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday for stabbing a woman to death, then bragging to his friends and showing off the thumb he had severed from her hand to prove it.

Mickeen Holland was found guilty in the December 1995 slaying of Katherine E. Brodie of Miami Beach, Fla.

He showed no emotion as the verdict was announced in a packed courtroom. But the mother of his 7-month-old daughter began to sob in the rear of the courtroom, where she sat with the child in her arms.

"She's never going to know her father," Crystal Bryant of Odenton said later, tears running down her cheeks.

A jury of nine women and three men deliberated about eight hours before convicting Holland. Several jurors declined to comment as they left the courthouse.

Assistant State's Attorney Frank Ragione said he hoped the decision would bring some peace to the victim's parents, who he said were too distraught to attend the trial. "They've just been devastated by all this," Ragione said.

The prosecutor said he would ask for life without parole when Judge Pamela L. North sentences Holland on May 14.

According to testimony:

Holland met Brodie for the first time near the Giant supermarket on Bay Ridge Road and went with her into woods, apparently to share cocaine.

Holland became angry, beat Brodie and stabbed her nine times.

Her body was found Feb. 12, 1996, off the 7400 block of Edgewood Road, by children playing there. Brodie, 34, who was raised in Chestertown, was visiting her boyfriend, Fred Chew of Annapolis. On the night she was killed, she left Chew's apartment alone looking to buy cocaine.

The prosecution's case focused on Tremayne Deon Howard, 19, who testified that he saw Holland punch Brodie in the stomach, kick her in the face and stab her with a pocketknife.

Holland's lawyer, John W. Robinson III, called Howard a "merchant of death" and said the state's "star witness" had cut a "sweet deal" with prosecutors, getting a 10-year sentence as an accomplice in exchange for his testimony and a plea to second-degree murder.

Robinson tried to cast suspicion on Brodie's boyfriend, who didn't report Brodie missing for several days and sold the clothes she had left at his apartment.

Ragione told the jury that he had no murder weapon and knew of no motive for the slaying.

He also acknowledged that because the body went undiscovered for two months, he had none of the fingerprint, blood, hair and fiber evidence that can link a suspect to a crime scene.

But Ragione reminded the jurors that forensic evidence showed Brodie's thumb had been amputated at, or shortly after, the time of her death. He introduced a photo of the victim's body and used Holland's own words against him, calling two of Holland's aunts to testify as hostile witnesses.

When the aunts, Cheri Booth and Constance Alsop, denied knowing anything about the murder, Ragione read their grand jury testimony, in which both said under oath that Holland had confessed the murder to them.

Ragione used a similar tactic with Cawana Cook, a friend of Holland's who told the grand jury March 11 that Holland had shown her the victim's thumb in a plastic sandwich bag a few weeks after the murder.

"Everyone was standing around looking at something in a bag, and I came up and asked Mickeen what it was, and he said it was the lady's finger," Cook told the grand jury, according to the testimony Ragione read in court.

Pub Date: 3/19/97

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