Man pleads guilty in neighbor's slaying Drug debt involved, his attorney says

November 14, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old drug user pleaded guilty yesterday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to bludgeoning his Brooklyn Park neighbor to death over a $20 cocaine debt.

Relatives of defendant David Scott Samuel and victim David Michael Gordon appeared upset with the outcome, but none discussed it publicly afterward.

Under a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped a request for a sentence of life without parole for Samuel, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death and robbery of Gordon, a meat-cutter. Gordon was killed on his 40th birthday.

Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr. also found Samuel guilty of robbery with a deadly weapon.

During the proceeding, Samuel's hands were shaking, and he spoke so softly that Greene reminded him a few times to speak up.

Assistant State's Attorney Eileen A. Reilly said prosecutors were unsure a jury would convict Samuel of first-degree murder, given the circumstances of the killing. Under the plea agreement, she said, Samuel pleaded guilty to the most serious charge and she would seek a life sentence.

"It's not like we've given up anything," Reilly said.

Assistant public defender Carroll L. McCabe said she was ham-strung by Samuel's confession to police. She told the judge the slaying took place during a fight over the cocaine debt.

"He never meant to kill him," she said.

Reilly disputed some of McCabe's statement, saying Samuel hit his victim fatally in the back, side and front of the head with a baseball bat. He robbed him, making the crime first-degree murder, she said.

McCabe said she would seek a sentence that would limit Samuel's imprisonment to about 30 years. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21.

Prosecutors said Samuel, living with acquaintances in the 900 block of First Ave., went with a friend to Gordon's home in the 100 block of Townsend Ave. Gordon bought a $20 crack cocaine rock from a third man, and the three smoked it, she said. The visitors left, and Samuel returned with more cocaine, Gordon paid, and they smoked again. When Samuel got a third rock, Gordon said he'd pay after they smoked it, Reilly said.

But when it was gone, in the early hours of Dec. 9, Gordon said he didn't have the money, Reilly said.

Samuel told police his supplier, "T," threatened to kill him if he could not produce the $20, Reilly said. Samuel returned to Gordon's home, where the two drug-addled men tried to concoct fake crack by cooking soap powder, figuring they could sell that to recoup the money, but they were unsuccessful, Reilly said.

Gordon said the debt was Samuel's problem, and Samuel picked up a wooden bat and hit Gordon, Reilly said. He turned Gordon's pockets inside out and took a videocassette recorder and other items to fence, she said. Police found some of the items in Samuel's residence.

About 9 p.m., Gordon's estranged wife, Holly, and their two children came by with birthday cards and gifts, and found Gordon lying face down in the living room. Gordon's son, now 10, screamed, "Daddy's dead," Reilly said.

Police arrested Samuel a day later after interviewing friends and neighbors.

Pub Date: 11/14/97

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