Teen-ager convicted as accessory in 1995 murder still being sought Judge issues warrant for Jane DeCosta's arrest

August 28, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Barbara Kerr Howe issued a warrant yesterday for the arrest of Jane Frances DeCosta on charges of violating her probation in the 1995 killing of a Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital counselor.

DeCosta, 17, disappeared early Wednesday from her parents' Timonium home before she was to testify in an unrelated court case. Yesterday, county police continued to follow leads, but were unable to locate the girl.

She had been brought to Maryland during the weekend from Florida, where she has been in a locked mental-health facility under court order from Howe. A therapist from the facility accompanied her on the plane, said DeCosta's lawyer, M. Cristina Gutierrez.

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst said yesterday the warrant will allow police in any state to detain DeCosta.

The girl -- who has a history of running away -- was convicted last year of being an accessory after the fact in the murder of Sharon Edwards, a 26-year-old single mother who was stabbed 26 times by Benjamin Scott Garris, who was 16 at the time.

DeCosta had confessed to police that she supplied the hunting knife Garris used in the stabbing. Garris is serving a life sentence without parole for the murder.

In January 1997, Howe gave DeCosta a suspended prison sentence, placed her on probation and ordered her to a locked mental facility for at least two years.

She was to testify in court Wednesday in a case involving the county Detention Center, where she spent 15 months before and during her trial. She was not charged with a crime in that case.

Pub Date: 8/28/98

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