Supreme Court rejects death row inmate's appeal Evans was convicted of killing two in murder-for-hire

November 11, 1997|By SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Vernon Lee Evans Jr., a Maryland death row inmate, failed yesterday in his latest appeal to the Supreme Court over his murder-for-hire conviction and death sentence, the fourth time in 12 years that the justices have turned him down.

The Supreme Court made no comment in refusing to hear his case.

Evans was convicted in 1983 by a Worcester County jury of killing a man and a woman at a Pikesville hotel under a murder contract. Prosecutors said Evans had been paid $9,000 by Anthony Grandison, who faced drug charges and sought the slaying of two potential witnesses against him in that case. Evans was accused of killing one of the witnesses, along with a second person he mistakenly thought to be the second witness.

The dead witness was David Scott Piechowicz, who worked at Warren House Motel in Pikesville. The other murder victim was Susan Kennedy, who was working at the motel that night in place of Piechowicz's wife, Cheryl, who was supposed to be the second witness against Grandison.

In his latest appeal, Evans contended that the prosecutor at his trial had used eight of his 10 available challenges to potential jurors to keep blacks off the jury that convicted him in 1983. Evans is black.

He also argued that the lawyers who defended him against a death sentence had failed to offer evidence that would show that Evans was not the gunman in the killings.

Those challenges were rejected by Judge James T. Smith Jr. of Baltimore County Circuit Court, and higher Maryland courts have refused to hear Evans' appeal.

Pub Date: 11/11/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.