Man accused in contract murder of brother in 1982 convicted

Friends testified they were hired for shooting

April 23, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Pennsylvania man was convicted of second-degree murder yesterday and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 1982 contract murder of his younger brother in Cockeysville.

David Crist, 41, had faced the death penalty on first-degree murder charges in the slaying of Scott C. Crist, 22, who was fatally shot in his apartment complex parking lot.

Defense attorney William B. Purpura, who tried the case in Bel Air on a change of venue with lawyer Arcangelo M. Tuminelli, said they were "extremely pleased" with the verdict, considering that their client could have faced the death penalty. The 30-year sentence is the maximum for second-degree murder.

Baltimore County prosecutors Stephen Bailey and Susan Hazlett -- who could not be reached for comment yesterday -- accused Crist of hiring friends Daniel Pepperman and Tryon E. Eiswerth to shoot his brother. The motive, they said, was to gain Scott Crist's share of the brothers' inheritance and to cash in a $133,000 life insurance policy.

Eiswerth is serving 20 years for his part in the killing. Pepperman, the trigger man, is serving life in prison.

During the trial, Pepperman and Eiswerth testified against Crist, but Purpura said the defense attorneys found the testimony of the hit men "was unreliable, and they had a motivation."

He noted that Eiswerth had his motive to kill Scott Crist, including wanting access to the Crist family money and drugs David Crist provided him.

"As soon as Scott was out of the way, Tryon moved into the house and took over," Purpura said yesterday after the verdict.

During the four-day trial, the jury did not hear that Crist was convicted in 1997 of trying to kill his 9-year-old daughter to collect insurance money.

Crist had attempted to have the girl killed in 1993 by a friend who was supposed to run the girl over with a truck, but the driver backed down and swerved away from the girl at the last minute. Crist is awaiting sentencing in that case in Pennsylvania. His Maryland sentence will be served after the Pennsylvania sentence.

Charges of attempting to murder a second daughter by electrocution were dropped by Lycoming County, Pa., authorities.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Christian M. Kahl ruled that no details of those other charges could be mentioned in front of the jury hearing Crist's case in his brother's killing.

Pub Date: 4/23/99

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