Man is convicted in 1994 slaying Janey found guilty in a third trial of stabbing case

February 24, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County jury yesterday convicted Richard E. Janey of second-degree murder in the 1994 stabbing death of a 29-year-old Annapolis woman.

The body of Susan McAteer was found in woods off Dubois Road outside Annapolis Dec. 27, 1994, about a week after she was stabbed 58 times.

In September, a jury convicted Janey, of the 100 block of Obery Court, of accessory after the fact, arson and conspiracy for helping to dump the woman's body and burning the car in which she was stabbed. But that jury deadlocked on the second-degree murder question in Janey's second trial on the charges.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals overturned Janey's 1995 conviction on the second-degree murder charge.

Last week, prosecutors tried for a third time to convince a jury that an enraged Janey stabbed McAteer in retaliation for poking him in the hand with a knife.

This time, unlike in the previous two trials, prosecutors had the eyewitness testimony of Janey's co-defendant, Wanda R. Hall of the 1000 block of Bay Ridge Road in Annapolis.

Hall, 34, is serving a 14-year sentence for her role in the murder and traded her testimony for the state's recommendation that she be released and sent to a drug treatment program or that her sentence be reduced to a year in the county jail and drug treatment.

Hall told the jury she was driving a borrowed Chrysler LeBaron with Janey next to her and McAteer in the back seat when Janey grabbed a knife from McAteer and began stabbing her.

In closing arguments Friday, Assistant State's Attorney Michelle D. Lapides' recounting of the murder was so graphic that McAteer's father walked out.

"Rick Janey must have been a ticking time bomb at that time," Lapides said. "Rick Janey had gotten the knife and he was slashing at every part of her body."

Assistant State's Attorney Frederick M. Paone crouched while talking to the jury and covered his head with his hands as McAteer might have done and then stood up and mimicked the fast, overhand motions he said Janey used to slash her.

Prosecutors portrayed Janey as a cold manipulator who threatened Hall into helping him dump McAteer's body and then concocted a wild story blaming her for the murder.

But Assistant Public Defender Nancy M. Cohen said prosecutors blamed the wrong person and made a disgraceful deal with Wanda Hall, whom she called the real killer.

Hall had "every reason in the world to lie" about Janey because she was being offered a chance to get out of prison and go to "a farm with a choir," Cohen said.

She urged the jury to believe the testimony of Janey's friend Rhoda E. Rabasco, who said Friday that Wanda Hall admitted to her that she was the one who stabbed McAteer. Rabasco, 41, is in prison for theft.

After listening to closing arguments for nearly three hours, until 7 p.m. on Friday, jurors began deliberations yesterday. The jury of 10 women and two men met for about four hours before returning a verdict.

A slip of the tongue by the forewoman in reading the verdict -- she pronounced Janey not guilty on the murder charge before correcting herself -- caused a moment of panic for the McAteer family.

McAteer's father still bristled about laws that kept prosecutors from telling jurors about the times Janey beat Susan McAteer during their yearlong relationship.

"He beat my daughter up three times; twice he put her in the hospital," William R. McAteer said. "You should be able to at least get that part in."

The Court of Special Appeals overturned Janey's first conviction after ruling that information on Janey's conviction of battery against McAteer should not have been introduced.

One Annapolis woman juror who did not want to give her name said witness testimony and statements Janey made to police after the crime pointed to him.

"Mostly, Rick Janey is the one that hung himself," she said.

On April 20, Circuit Judge Clayton Greene Jr. could sentence Janey to a maximum of 30 years for second-degree murder and five years each on the convictions for arson and accessory after the fact.

Pub Date: 2/24/98

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