First of three men goes on trial in teen's death Man's stepdaughter testifies he mocked youth's mercy pleas

September 17, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The first of three men charged in the slaying of a Baltimore teen-ager went on trial yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, with the defendant's own stepdaughter as the key prosecution witness.

Jessica Martin told jurors that she asked her stepfather, Thomas "Eddie" Blake, 39, at an evening family cookout if he knew the whereabouts of Miquel Tavon "Fats" Cauthorne. She said Blake told her that "they had just dropped him off somewhere."

But in fact, Cauthorne, 16, of the 3600 block of W. Bay Ave. was lying in a ditch along secluded Shot Town Road in Arnold after being shot repeatedly, including once in the back of the head.

The cookout took place Sept. 1, 1995, outside the trailer home of Blake's aunt at the end of Shot Town Road, Martin testified. She said the victim was riding from Baltimore to the barbecue with Blake; his brother, Kenneth L. Blake; and their nephew, Jamie Lee Scott, who was Martin's boyfriend.

Under the questioning of Assistant State's Attorney Frederick Paone, Martin described events leading up to Cauthorne's death.

The three men had fought with Cauthorne the night before, she testified. By midday Sept. 1, she said, her boyfriend, Scott, had ,, gotten a gun.

She said she took the gun in their apartment, but later gave it back because Scott "had told me that they had cooled off and that nothing was going to happen" and because Scott reminded her of how easily he could get another.

On the way home from the cookout, she said, her stepfather mocked Cauthorne, saying, "Ow, it hurts, it burns, please stop."

Martin is to continue on the stand today, with questioning by Assistant Public Defender Robert Waldman likely to focus on Martin's feelings toward her stepfather -- a man whom she feared, according to her testimony.

In opening remarks yesterday, Waldman said Martin hated Blake and stepped forward with information about the killing after he and her mother began to see each other again after a separation.

Beyond her testimony, there is nothing substantive to link Blake to the crime, he said.

Among the half-dozen prosecution witnesses yesterday were an Arnold couple who told of hearing gunshots about 7 p.m. that evening coming from the woods behind their home and called police.

Janice O'Brien said she heard a male voice say, "I'm going to f- - - you up," then two gunshots. The voice repeated the phrase and several more shots rang out, she said. About five minutes later, she heard the clanking of an old car, she said.

Anne Arundel County police Officer Eric Snair said he drove to the area and was waiting for a backup officer when he saw an old Chevrolet Monte Carlo with three men in it go by. He wrote a report the next day, after a resident of the area's Whispering Woods neighborhood, Carrollton Green Jr., and his dog came across the body.

Snair pointed out the defendant in court as the man he saw sitting in the back seat of the old car.

Waldman hotly challenged Snair's testimony, contending the written report was not based on the officer's notes but on information detectives retrieved from a computer.

Snair said he had radioed information about the car to a dispatcher on the night of the shooting, but not the description that was included in his written report of the man in the back seat.

After pointing out the defendant as the passenger, Snair said he first recognized Blake months later in a photo array -- information that Waldman said had not been divulged to him by the state and which prompted him to ask Judge Eugene M. Lerner to declare a mistrial.

The motion was denied.

Blake, of the 1100 block of E. Patapsco Ave. in Baltimore, is charged with first-degree murder and related offenses.

No dates have been set in the murder-conspiracy trials of his brother, Kenneth, 32, of the 4100 block of Hague Ave. in Baltimore, and Scott, 21, of the 700 block of Bestgate Road in Annapolis.

Pub Date: 9/17/97

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