Killer loses bid to appeal to state court Gilliam's case referred back to Baltimore County

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

The lawyer for condemned killer Tyrone X. Gilliam lost a bid yesterday to have an appeal heard by the state's highest court. The court referred the case back to Baltimore County Circuit Court, where Gilliam was convicted and sentenced to death almost a decade ago.

Gilliam's attorney, Jerome Nickerson, has been trying to avoid filing the case in Baltimore County because of what he calls "highly irregular" treatment of the case.

A Montgomery County Circuit judge declined to hear the case last week and referred Nickerson back to Baltimore County. The Maryland Court of Appeals did the same yesterday.

Gilliam, 32, is scheduled to die by lethal injection next week. He was convicted in 1989 of murdering 21-year-old Christine Doerfler during a carjacking and robbery that yielded $3. Gilliam says he did not shoot Doerfler, despite two confessions.

Nickerson is expected to ask Gov. Parris N. Glendening this week for clemency for Gilliam, the third man since 1990 to face Maryland's death chamber.

In his appeal, Nickerson argues that Gilliam's case has been tainted by a conflict of interest. The Office of the Public Defender represented one of Gilliam's co-defendants, Kelvin Drummond, who testified against him. Nickerson alleges that Gilliam's first attorney consulted with the public defender's office during the trial. The office also represented Gilliam in his first round of appeals on the death sentence.

In the filing, Nickerson presented an affidavit from Delano "Tony" Drummond, Kelvin's brother and the other co-defendant, who is serving a life sentence. The affidavit says Gilliam was not the trigger man, but Drummond does not say who was.

Pub Date: 11/10/98

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