Charges dropped against 4 teens who agree to testify in beating death

November 11, 1998|By Jamal E. Watson | Jamal E. Watson,SUN STAFF

Murder and assault charges were dropped against four of seven teen-agers charged in the beating death of Salvadoran immigrant Gilberto Hernandez in Laurel, after they agreed to testify against the others, Prince George's County State's Attorney Jack Johnson said yesterday.

"There is no evidence to indicate that four of the young men had any contact with Gilberto Hernandez that night," Johnson said as he released details of a grand jury investigation into the Sept. 4 slaying.

Charged with first-degree murder and assault are Cochise I. Queen, 17, Kelly D. Martin, 18, and Steven Darby, 16, all of Laurel.

Agreeing to testify against them are Gerald Douglas Culbreath, 16, Sharif A. Sinkler, 17, Anthony Steven Barclay, 16, and David Burley, 17, also of Laurel.

Johnson said the four did not take part in the beating, which police say occurred on a Laurel street after Hernandez left his job shortly after midnight.

Residents speculated that Hernandez might have been targeted because he was Hispanic -- the teen-agers are black -- but Johnson said that the attack was not a hate crime. Prosecutors do not know of a motive.

Pub Date: 11/11/98

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