Jury deliberation begins in trial in homicide of White Marsh man

Construction worker charged with murder

July 13, 1999|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County jury began deliberating yesterday in the case of a Middle River construction worker charged with first-degree murder in the homicide of a White Marsh man whose death was ruled a murder only after his body was exhumed two months later.

In the final day of the five-day trial, the defense argued that Gary Lee Fischer Sr., 44, of the 13000 block of Twin River Beach Road, acted in self defense when he struck Allen Eugene Ellis, 33, outside a Pulaski Highway bar Aug. 20.

Fischer also is charged with second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Fischer's attorney, Harold B. Murnane III, told the Baltimore County Circuit Court jury that evidence showed Ellis died from hitting his head on the pavement after being hit. "Mr. Fischer never intended to or had a thought of killing Mr. Ellis," Murnane said.

But Assistant State's Attorney Stephen R. Roscher argued that Fischer struck Ellis with enough force to kill him because he was jealous of Ellis' relationship with Sara Jane Festerman, Fischer's girlfriend.

In closing arguments, Roscher said Fischer angrily left the bar on Aug. 20 after seeing Ellis and Festerman together and went home to change into "battle clothes." He then had his son, Gary Lee Fischer Jr., drive him back to the bar and waited for Ellis, Roscher said.

After the attack, Fischer went home and told Festerman he got in a fight with Ellis, Roscher said.

"The defendant is the aggressor," Roscher said. "There's no testimony that Allen Ellis ever raised anything to a deadly level."

Originally, Ellis was determined to have died from a "brain-stem herniation" from natural causes, and his body was buried at Holly Hills Memorial Gardens.

But Festerman contacted police on Oct. 4 and implicated Fischer in the crime. Ellis' body was then exhumed and an autopsy revealed that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma.

Fischer's son will go on trial Aug. 23 on a charge of accessory-after-the-fact to murder. The charges allege that the son, 20, drove his father to and from the scene of the crime.

The jury resumes deliberation today.

Pub Date: 7/13/99

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