'I was defending myself,' man testifies during murder trial His pregnant girlfriend was found with 83 cuts

June 17, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

On the September morning prosecutors say Darryl J. Medley stabbed his girlfriend to death in her Woodlawn home, he also allegedly turned on the gas stove in an attempt to kill their 4-year-old daughter, who authorities say might have witnessed the killing.

Medley is charged in Baltimore County Circuit Court with first-degree murder in the death Sept. 5 of 31-year-old Rae Antoinette Corpening and with the attempted murder of their daughter.

Yesterday, Medley took the witness stand as the only witness in his defense. He told the jury and his lawyer, Michael L. Gallavan, that he stabbed Corpening and hit her with a table leg only after she attacked him with a knife.

"I was defending myself," he said.

He said the knifing began after he and Corpening "had a little argument." He quoted Corpening as saying, " 'I'm tired of your '... and came toward me with a knife."

Medley of Upper Marlboro said his girlfriend, who was pregnant, was holding the knife when it cut her neck as he grabbed her from behind. Although he admitted that he stabbed Corpening a few times, he said he had no idea how she suffered the 83 cuts found on her body.

"The cuts they said she had, I do not know how she got them."

Later, under cross-examination, Assistant State's Attorney Robin Coffin asked Medley: "You don't remember you stabbed her 79 more times?"

"No," answered Medley.

He contradicted several statements he made to police after Corpening's death. He denied that he turned on the burners to the stove before he left the house, in the 7200 block of Sawmill Branch Road. But Coffin noted that Medley told police he turned on the burners so a fire alarm would go off and alert someone to the home to get his daughter, Kendra.

During opening statements in Circuit Judge John G. Turnbull II's courtroom, Coffin told the jury: "You are going to be exposed to an incredibly bloody, brutal, vicious massacre."

Earlier in the week, neighbors Kevin and Felicia Hudson testified that the little girl arrived at their home shortly before 4 a.m. crying and repeating, "My mommy's dead."

"She was frightened and very cold. She was adamant in repeating that her mother had been killed. She told me she was scared, and she wanted help," recalled Mrs. Hudson.

Mr. Hudson went to the Corpening home. He said that when he saw a body from the doorway, he backed out and called police.

Brigitt Jones, a friend and co-worker of Corpening's at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, testified that Corpening was pregnant at the time of her death and that Medley was unhappy about it.

Pub Date: 6/17/98

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