Last of 3 men accused in slaying of teen-ager enters a guilty plea In plea agreement, maximum sentence for Blake is 15 years

March 04, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The last of three people accused of a retaliation murder pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to kill a Baltimore teen-ager because he feared that if he was convicted, the Anne Arundel County circuit judge would give him the same sentence, life plus 18 years, that his brother got.

Under a plea agreement, Judge Eugene M. Lerner cannot sentence Kenneth L. Blake, 33, of the 4100 block of Hague Ave. in Baltimore to more than 15 years in prison.

"I really wanted to try this case," said defense attorney Timothy Murnane, pointing to the conflicting testimony that led prosecutor Frederick Paone to aim for the plea.

"But it was hard to say no to this deal. My client wanted to accept," Murnane said, referring to Blake's fear of a life sentence.

Paone said that given the severity of the crime and Blake's criminal record, he will seek the full 15 years when Blake is sentenced April 27. He said "major proof problems" were likely to surface if the case went to trial. Blake has been convicted of drug dealing, passing bad checks and walking away from a jail program.

"I didn't want him to get away with murder," Paone said. Besides, he said, Kenneth Blake's brother, Thomas "Eddie" Blake, 39, of the 1100 block of E. Patapsco Ave. in Baltimore, shot and killed the youth and received a life sentence for first-degree murder.

Murnane will argue for a sentence of no more than five years without parole for Kenneth Blake's role in the death Sept. 1, 1995, of Miquel Tavon "Fats" Cauthorne, 16, of the 3600 block of W. Bay Ave. in Baltimore. Cauthorne's body was found Sept. 2 in a ditch along a secluded stretch of Shot Town Road in Arnold.

Blake's nephew, Jamie Lee Scott, 22, of the 700 block of Bestgate Road in Annapolis, is expected to receive five years without parole when he is sentenced Friday for his role in the slaying.

"Kenny does not deserve a day more in jail than Jamie," said Murnane.

Scott's cooperation with prosecutors, which included the possibility of testifying against Blake, resulted in a promise of a five-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit murder and a handgun violation.

Scott gave differing versions of Blake's involvement, and some information differs from the testimony Jessica Martin, Scott's girlfriend at the time, gave at the trial of Thomas Blake.

Paone said a lie-detector test showed Scott was truthful when he said Kenneth Blake went with him to buy bullets for the gun and helped lure Cauthorne to Arnold. The Blakes and Scott picked up Cauthorne to go to a relative's home for a cookout. Cauthorne never arrived.

Thomas Blake and Cauthorne had a fight a day before the cookout that sent Blake to the hospital. The nature of the dispute was unknown, but "apparently Fats got him good," Paone said.

A passer-by found Cauthorne's body. He had been shot six times, a pants pocket was turned inside out, and a $20 bill was nearby.

Other charges, including robbery and first-degree murder, will be dropped at Blake's sentencing.

Pub Date: 3/04/98

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