Jury deadlocked on suspect's role in 1994 stabbing death of woman Defendant convicted of hiding crime

September 30, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury convicted an Annapolis man yesterday of helping to hide a 1994 murder, but it deadlocked on whether he killed the woman.

The unusual split decision leaves room for a third trial on whether Richard E. Janey murdered Susan McAteer. But, as in this trial, which came after the Court of Special Appeals overturned Janey's murder conviction, evidence of previous beatings would be excluded.

McAteer's family was livid.

"It's a huge blow, to our family of course, and to the fight against domestic violence," said Susan McAteer's brother Marc McAteer, 37, of Annapolis. "They did not get all the facts; that's the problem. I don't blame the jury. They were kept in the dark."

The victim's parents left the courtroom in tears.

"How is it right for a defense attorney to tell the jury that he was wanted on an escape warrant and that was his excuse for not going to the police when it was not right for the state's attorney to tell them why he is in jail in the first place? He broke her jaw," said Michael McAteer, 41, another brother.

Janey escaped from a work-release program at the county jail about two months before the slaying.

Defense attorneys countered that they were barred by the trial judge from using third-party testimony from a person who claimed that Wanda Hall, Janey's alleged accomplice, had confessed to him. Neither side called Hall to testify.

Janey and Hall, 33, of the 1000 block of Bay Ridge Road, were accused of stabbing McAteer, 29, of the first block of Southgate Ave. 58 times and letting her bleed to death. They dumped McAteer's body in woods off Dubois Road outside Annapolis, where it was found Dec. 27, 1994, nearly a week after she vanished, and burned the bloody car.

Hall is serving 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder, malicious burning of the car and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Janey was convicted of second-degree murder in McAteer's death in 1995, but the Court of Special appeals overturned the conviction. The appellate judges said Janey's prior battery conviction for beating McAteer should not have been allowed as evidence.

Prosecutor Frederick Paone said he was hamstrung by the ruling.

"That case was dealt a severe blow," Paone said. "I wasn't able to present evidence of a motive this time around."

The jury, after deliberating two hours Friday and five hours yesterday, convicted Janey of being an accessory after the fact to murder, malicious burning of a car and conspiracy to burn the car, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years. It acquitted him of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr. set Oct. 17 for sentencing.

Nine jurors favored acquittal on the second-degree murder charge, and three favored conviction.

A juror who did not want to be identified said that "the state just didn't prove it," a remark other jurors echoed.

Paone said he will decide soon whether to retry Janey, 34, of the 100 block of Obery Court on a charge of second-degree murder.

Defense lawyers, who acknowledged during the trial that Janey covered up a murder, said they were happy with the verdict but hoped that the case would not be tried a third time.

Pub Date: 9/30/97

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