Psychologist loses move to dismiss case

Woman is charged with aiding inmates in escape from Jessup

Change of venue denied

Troopers testify defendant violated immunity agreement

October 28, 1999|By Devon Spurgeon | Devon Spurgeon,SUN STAFF

The case of Elizabeth Feil, the prison psychologist accused of helping her lover escape from state prison in May, made its way yesterday to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, where a judge denied a motion to dismiss it. The court also refused a motion to move the trial.

Feil's attorney, Isaiah Dixon III, first asked the court to move the case to Baltimore because of the "feeding frenzy" of excessive media coverage, the "low point" being the airing of pictures of his client in a black negligee on WBAL-TV.

"It will be impossible for jurors to divorce themselves from what they have heard so far," said Dixon. "No escape case in the history of Anne Arundel County or the state has generated this much publicity."

Despite the extensive coverage by television and news agencies in the Baltimore area, Dixon asked the judge to move the case to Baltimore.

"Doesn't that fly in the face of what you just told me?" asked Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner.

The judge denied the motion.

Feil, 45, is charged with two counts of being an accessory to escape after the fact; two counts of harboring an escaped inmate; and with obstructing and hindering the investigation into the escape May 18 from the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup.

Police charged that Feil helped her boyfriend, convicted robber Byron Smoot, 38, and convicted killer Gregory Lawrence, 39, escape after they walked past guard towers and scaled a fence. The two were recaptured two days later in Baltimore.

Dixon asked Lerner to dismiss the case against Feil because she had secured an immunity agreement with the Anne Arundel County state's attorney.

But state Trooper John Casey testified that Feil violated the immunity agreement that required her to share everything she knew about the escape because she did not do so. The court denied the motion for dismissal. Feil's trial is set to begin Nov. 18.

During the police investigation of the escape, Feil lied to the Maryland State Police and sent them on a wild-goose chase around Glen Burnie before revealing that she spent the evening with the two fugitives at a motel, police said.

During yesterday's testimony, troopers testified that Feil eventually took police to the home of Smoot's former wife.

Her sister answered the door and told investigators that the home had received an odd telephone call the night before, which was answered, but no one was on the line. However, the phone number was logged into a caller identification system.

That number was traced back to the Town House Motel on Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore, police said.

This led investigators to the motel, where night manager Elena Pilkerton identified Feil. Police reinterviewed Feil five hours later, with her attorney present, and asked about the motel.

In this interview, Feil acknowledged picking up the fugitives -- both bleeding from scrambling over the prison's razor-wire fencing -- and driving them to the Town House Motel.

Motel records show Feil paid $44.25 for Room 214.

Feil did not reveal to investigators, state police said, that Lawrence's girlfriend, Geneva Shadeed -- who is also charged with aiding the escapes -- had been with them at the motel.

However, several calls were placed to Shadeed about 11: 30 p.m. from the room, state police said.

Shadeed, 36, drove from her apartment in East Baltimore to the motel after the calls, police said.

"The time lapse between the first and second interview was critical," Casey testified, because of the urgency of the search for the two fugitives.

Casey said the immunity agreement made with Feil before the first interview was based on her sharing everything she knew about the escape.

"She never told us another person came to the motel," he said.

Feil -- whose long gray hair is dyed brownish red -- sat without expression in the courtroom next to her attorney.

Before the hearing, she apologized privately to her former live-in boyfriend, Glenn Bosshard, and his daughter, Brianna, 15, Bosshard said.

"It has been a very emotional day," he said after the hearing. "I told her I missed her, and that her hair looked much better gray."

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