Murder case overturned because of judge's error

May 05, 1998

The Court of Special Appeals overturned the first-degree murder and assault convictions of William Redcross Jr. yesterday, ruling that the judge's instructions were faulty.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Barbara Kerr Howe failed to instruct jurors that in considering Redcross' claim of self-defense, they had to decide whether he believed that he could have retreated safely from what he said was an assault by other men, the court ruled.

Redcross, 41, of the 500 block of S. Pulaski St. was sentenced last year to life plus 25 years in prison for stabbing to death Walter Spencer, 30, of the 1100 block of Wedgewood Road, and wounding a second man Oct. 27, 1996, in the parking lot of Ziggy's restaurant in Arbutus.

Prosecutors contended that Redcross was angered when he saw Spencer with a woman who had recently ended a 14-month relationship with him.

Pub Date: 5/05/98

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