Man guilty of shooting a witness before his trial He stalked woman, shot her on driveway

March 28, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Amy L. Fischer accused Wayne Resper of stealing two packs of film from the store she helped manage. Resper responded by stalking her and, on the eve of the day she was to testify against him, shooting her numerous times as she pulled into the driveway of her Crownsville home, prosecutors said yesterday.

The barrage of bullets Aug. 4 left Fischer, 26, bleeding but alive and her sister, Cheryl, 16, who was in the car with her, slightly injured.

Resper, 39, pleaded guilty yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court to attempted first-degree murder, retaliation for reporting a crime and reckless endangerment. Prosecutors will recommend a life sentence for the attempted-murder charge when Resper is sentenced May 18.

The August shooting was the second time a witness who was to testify against Resper was shot before she could appear in court. Resper and his brother Ronald were questioned at length in 1985 after Ronald's wife, Carolyn, and three other people were found slain the day before Carolyn was to testify on robbery charges against the men.

The Resper brothers were not charged in those shootings, and after a postponement in their robbery trial, Wayne Resper was acquitted in October 1995. His brother was later convicted of armed robbery. The homicide case remains unsolved, and Washington police officials could not provide the status of the investigation yesterday.

Resper's attorney in the Anne Arundel case suggested that he plead guilty after he decided he could not prove that Resper was not criminally responsible.

The theft charge has been placed on the inactive docket.

At yesterday's hearing, State's Attorney Frank Weathersbee read a lengthy statement of facts outlining the eyewitness testimony and evidence that linked the Crofton resident to the shooting.

By November 1996, Fischer had come to know Resper as a problem customer of the CPI Photo Store in Annapolis Mall, where she was an assistant manager, Weathersbee said.

Resper, a professional photographer who lived in the 2000 block of Lake Grove Court in Crofton, would come in several times a week to have film developed and would come back to complain about the print quality.

On Nov. 4, 1996, Fischer told police she had seen Resper pick up two packs of film and put them in his coat pockets. She called mall security officials, who stopped Resper and found the film. Fischer later filled out a charge of misdemeanor theft.

In the weeks before the August 1997 trial date on the theft charge, Fischer noticed a silver-colored Volvo with vanity tags "In Sync" parked in the employee area at the mall, and, the day before the trial, she saw the same car parked near her family's house on Crownsville Road.

The same car blocked her from driving up the driveway when she came home after 9 p.m. Aug. 4 with her sister in the passenger seat.

The Volvo pulled alongside her car, driver to driver, and a man started shooting with a .380-caliber gun, striking Fischer several times in the left arm, chest and abdomen. She told her sister to put her head down and managed to drive the car up the 300-foot driveway to the house. Her sister jumped out and ran to the house to get help.

Resper drove up the driveway, got out of his car and approached Fischer on the driver's side, Weathersbee said.

"She says, 'Don't shoot me again,' " Weathersbee said.

But, through the open window, Resper pointed the gun at the hand Fischer was holding over her head and pulled the trigger twice. This time the gun did not fire.

He was out of bullets or his gun malfunctioned, Weathersbee said after the hearing. Police never found the weapon, but they found a box of .380-caliber bullets and an empty holster for a Beretta at Resper's home.

When a third sister ran out of the house, Resper fled in his car. Police arrested him a few miles away on Route 450.

"We are not denying those three charges," was defense attorney Gill Cochran's response.

Resper, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black printed tie, spoke briefly. He told Circuit Judge Clayton Greene Jr. that he had been a patient at "National Children's Rehabilitation Center" for three years as a teen-ager and that he is in counseling at the county jail.

During the hearing, Cochran handed prosecution officials a letter of apology from Resper to the Fischers.

Neither the three sisters nor their mother, Yvonne, would comment.

"It's really amazing the presence of mind she had to survive, that and be able to protect her sister," Weathersbee said of Amy Fischer.

Pub Date: 3/28/98

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