Metheny sentencing testimony begins Jurors hear man confess to strangling prostitute

November 10, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Jurors being asked to order the execution of confessed killer Joseph R. Metheny yesterday heard a tape of his emotionless confession to the 1994 strangulation of Cathy Ann Magaziner, a prostitute he buried near his trailer at a Southwest Baltimore pallet company.

In August, Metheny, 43, pleaded guilty to murdering and robbing Magaziner. A jury in Baltimore County, where the case has been moved from the city, is being asked to sentence Metheny to death.

Metheny is serving life without parole for the 1996 murder of Kimberly Spicer, and another 50 years for kidnapping and an attempted sex offense of Rita Kemper also in 1996.

On the first day of testimony, jurors in the courtroom of Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith Jr. heard a tape recording of Homer Pennington, a Baltimore homicide detective, questioning Metheny about the murder.

"I strangled her," Metheny said in a monotone voice. When Pennington asked her name, Metheny answered, "Haven't a clue."

When Metheny was asked what he did with the body, he said he buried it. Six months later, he said, "I dug it [the skeleton] up and took the head out. I just took the head and threw it in a box in the trash."

Police found the skeletal remains of Magaziner, missing part of the skull, more than two years after Metheny said he killed her. She was identified through dental records.

As Metheny listened to his confession in the courtroom, the 6-foot-1-inch, tattooed man nicknamed "Tiny" rocked gently in his chair.

In opening statements yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Emanuel Brown said Metheny killed Magaziner for a "sense of power" and because he said he "got a rush out of it."

Brown, who is trying the case with Assistant State's Attorney Vickie Wash, asked the jury for the "maximum, ultimate penalty of death" for Metheny.

Metheny's attorneys, Margaret Mead and Catherine Flynn, did not make an opening statement, but will speak to the jury this week when Metheny also is expected to testify.

Metheny, who led police to Magaziner's shallow grave near his trailer on the grounds of Joe Stein & Son pallet company in the 3200 block of James St., has confessed to several murders but has been convicted of the two killings.

In 1996, he was acquitted of murdering two homeless men, Randy Piker and Randall Brewer, both 33. He was also acquitted of attempting to murder Kemper.

Former Baltimore City police Officer Timothy Utzig testified yesterday that when he arrested Metheny in December 1996, Metheny told him, "You don't have to be scared."

When the officer said he wasn't afraid, Metheny, who sat handcuffed and shackled in the back of the police car, said, "You ought to be."

The death penalty hearing against Metheny is expected to take a week before the jury begins deliberation.

Pub Date: 11/10/98

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