Witness admits lie, lawyer says

Details match story given to The Sun in 1990 beating case in Annapolis

June 10, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Since April, Larry Michael Brown has refused to tell prosecutors and defense lawyers what he told The Sun -- that he lied about seeing Brady G. Spicer flee the scene of a vicious 1990 beating in Annapolis and seven years into Spicer's 30-year sentence, he wants to make amends.

This week, with relatives at his bedside in a nursing home, Brown repeated his story to one of Spicer's lawyers.

Attorney Carroll L. McCabe confirmed that she spoke with Brown on Monday night -- the eve of federal appellate arguments in Spicer's case. She said Brown said he wanted to "clear his conscience."

She said the ailing man talked about needing "to make my peace with God."

McCabe said Brown's remarks to her were the same as those that appeared in The Sun.

Brown told The Sun that he lied to save himself from 20 years in prison on the drug charges then facing him. He traded testimony against Spicer for five years' probation.

County prosecutors said Brown needs to talk to them before his recanting can help Spicer, but he has refused.

Anne Arundel State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee has maintained that it was more than a coincidence that two other witnesses identified Spicer and he noted that state courts upheld Spicer's 1992 conviction.

Spicer was convicted of the Feb. 22, 1990, beating of Francis "Bones" Denvir, an owner of Armadillo's tavern on the Annapolis City Dock.

But in December, Judge Peter J. Messitte in U.S. District Court in Baltimore faulted the identifications, found a discrepancy between what Brown's attorney told prosecutors his client knew and what Brown later told prosecutors. The judge said the trial was generally unfair, and ordered prosecutors to retry Spicer in four months or free him.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., heard the state's appeal of that ruling.

The panel has no deadline to issue a decision.

Although the appellate judges were aware that Brown recanted to The Sun, it is not an issue for them to consider.

How useful Brown's statement will be to the defense is unclear.

Pub Date: 6/10/99

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