Second man sentenced in '82 killings

He gets two 15-year terms for role in robbery that left 2 dead in Middle River

August 07, 1999|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A 17-year-old double murder case at a Middle River bar came to a close yesterday with the sentencing of a second man.

Charles Michael Grimes, 40, of the 7300 block of Waldman Ave. was sentenced to two 15-year concurrent sentences for his part in the killings of Lurty Wood and George Wilker during a robbery at the Alcove on Pulaski Highway.

In March, Grimes told police that he and his uncle, Jack D. Clark of North Carolina, took part in the killings Oct. 7, 1982. Grimes pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and testified against Clark, identifying him as the shooter.

"Without [Grimes'] testimony to corroborate evidence the state had, it would have been extremely difficult to convict Mr. Clark," Baltimore County Circuit Judge John G. Turnbull II said yesterday.

Before he was sentenced, Grimes said he wanted to apologize to the victims' families, who did not attend the sentencing.

"I am really sorry," he said, fighting tears. "I understand a lot of their pain."

Grimes' brother, Chadwick Grimes, was also a suspect in the case and was killed in January 1997. A fourth suspect in the case has also died since the killings.

Cynthia Panos, Grimes' attorney, said Grimes confessed to police because he could no longer deal with the guilt and because he could empathize with the victims' families after his brother was killed.

The case was reopened three years ago, after Grimes told police he and Clark took part in the robbery. Police retrieved a bandanna in the Police Department's property room, and DNA testing revealed that saliva on it likely belonged to Clark.

Clark, 54, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced Wednesday to two life sentences and two 20-year terms for robbery and use of a handgun, to be served concurrently.

Assistant State's Attorney Katie O'Malley said she was pleased with Grimes' testimony during Clark's trial and said she felt Grimes' sentence was fair.

Pub Date: 8/07/99

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