Man found guilty in strangling of two boys Brown faces maximum of 2 life sentences

December 11, 1997|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Shawn E. Brown was found guilty yesterday of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two Baltimore boys whom he said he strangled as part of an effort to gain information about human sexuality and other topics.

Brown, who described himself as a 3,729-year-old immortal, faces a maximum of two life sentences without parole for the murders of Marvin Wise, 8, and Obdul Richards, 16, when he is sentenced Feb. 17. Brown was also found guilty of kidnapping Obdul.

The state is planning to drop charges of child molestation Brown was facing in assaults on three other boys.

Brown's lawyers declined to comment until after he is sentenced. In closing arguments, one of them, Thomas Saunders, said that although Brown admitted strangling the boys, he did not realize what he was doing.

"Did he have a full and conscious knowledge, at the time, that he was causing death? I think not," Saunders said. "A fair and just verdict in this case would be murder in the second degree."

The victims' relatives and the prosecutor said justice was served and that the verdict might help protect other children.

"This is a really, really dangerous person," said Mark Cohen, the assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case. "Obviously, we're pleased with the verdict."

Bridgett Richards, Obdul's mother, said, "He got exactly what he deserved."

Obdul was found strangled in a boarded-up Catholic school at East Eager and Valley streets. Marvin was found in a vacant apartment in the Flag House Courts public housing, where Brown's sister lives.

Brown testified Tuesday as the only defense witness. During his testimony, Brown told jurors he was an immortal who was sent here "to live as mortals live."

Brown said his mission stemmed from an assault during his childhood that caused the "child" inside him to die. At that time, Brown said, he became immortal and has undergone several tests, including searches for information about human sexuality.

He said he asked Obdul and Marvin about their first kisses and when they lost their virginity, then strangled them to commune with their spirits.

Brown said the boys weren't dead, that he had moved them to "a better land."

Jurors said they thought Brown was aware of what he was doing.

"He seemed to be of sound mind to know what he did," said juror Rosemary Hill. "He admitted everything he did.

"The whole thing was a heartbreaking thing to have happen," Hill said. Brown "didn't have any remorse," she said.

Markina Wise-Blick, Marvin's aunt, said she was glad the jury didn't believe Brown. "That role he was playing, I knew and he knew that it was fake," she said.

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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