Jury convicts man of slayings in Parkville First conviction in deaths of 2 women was overturned

July 02, 1997|By Michael S. Derby | Michael S. Derby,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A Baltimore County jury convicted Michael Matusky of Cockeysville yesterday in the January 1993 stabbing deaths of two Parkville women.

After about seven hours of deliberation, the Circuit Court jury found Matusky, 48, guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of Gertrude Poffel, 75, and her daughter Pamela Poffel, 39, both of the 2800 block of Fifth Ave.

It was Matusky's second trial for the killings.

In 1994, he was sentenced to two life terms for the crimes, but the conviction was thrown out by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which ruled that a witness' statements linking Matusky to the murders were hearsay and inadmissible.

"The jury had a very difficult case to decide," prosecutor Steven E. Bailey said.

Bailey said the key to the trial was the main prosecution witness, Richard D. White, who linked Matusky to the murders and whose testimony was corroborated by other witnesses.

White -- who has been acquitted of involvement in the slayings -- testified that he drove with Matusky to the Poffels' house and waited outside as they were killed. He also said he was with Matusky when the killer disposed of the kitchen knife used in the slayings.

Matusky's own testimony also "hurt him," Bailey said.

The defendant, who testified that he "hardly knew" the victims, said he was nowhere near the home the day of the murders. Matusky also denied allegations that he killed the women because he felt Gertrude Poffel was responsible for the 1985 suicide of her son Ted, a longtime friend of his.

Defense lawyer Edward C. Covahey was unavailable for comment.

Matusky, who is being held without bail in the county Detention Center, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 19 by Judge Thomas J. Bollinger. Bailey said prosecutors plan to ask for a sentence of life without parole.

Pub Date: 7/02/97

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