Brothers convicted on drug charges Pair found not guilty in slayings of suppliers

September 10, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

During the school year, Jamar Holt was a sophomore at University of Maryland Eastern Shore studying physical therapy. But during the summer and on weekends, prosecutors said, Holt was a drug dealer, supplying Northeast Baltimore with cocaine and heroin.

Yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court, Holt, 20, and his brother John, 30, were convicted of distributing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs over two years -- moving roughly a kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) of cocaine every week.

The jury acquitted the brothers of murder charges -- the most serious against them in the three-week trial. They face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced on Oct. 28.

Kenneth Ravenell, Jamar Holt's attorney, called the jury verdict a victory. Holt had been an informant for drug agents, Ravenell said, and all but confessed to the drug activity. But, he said, his client -- a former Dunbar High School basketball player -- did not commit murder.

"There's no doubt that we believe there was no violence associated with these defendants," Ravenell said yesterday after the verdict.

Prosecutors accused the Holts of killing their main suppliers, Louis Rodriguez, 23, and Louis Martinez, 32, in a dispute over bad drugs. The suppliers, who routinely ferried drugs from New York to Baltimore, were found shot to death execution-style last October at an East Baltimore apartment where a cousin of the Holts lived.

Martinez died with his cellular telephone in his hand after paging Jamar Holt, prosecutors said.

During the trial, defense attorneys argued that other people had the opportunity and motive to kill the two suppliers. They pointed to one of the drug organization's underlings who they say bragged to others that he planned to take over because the two men were dead.

Prosecutors conceded that the case against the brothers was circumstantial -- they had no fingerprints, no murder weapon and no eyewitnesses. They argued the men orchestrated the killing because they wanted revenge for the bad drugs they had received.

Drugs were the brothers' business in 1996-1997, prosecutors said. Jamar Holt, who had another drug case against him put on the inactive docket two years ago, had a house in Baltimore County where he stored, cut and bagged the drugs he distributed, prosecutors said. His brother has a previous drug conviction.

Pub Date: 9/10/98

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