Confession in killing of couple described

Officer testifies in man's murder trial

May 09, 2000|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 48-year-old man admitted to police that he stabbed an elderly couple to death in their Rosedale home on Thanksgiving Day 1998, selecting his victims because they had given him cash the day before, according to testimony yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court.

Lawrence Michael Borchardt Sr. of Rosedale confessed two days after he was arrested and charged in the stabbing deaths of Joseph and Bernice Ohler, police said. The Ohlers were found by a neighbor in their home in the 6500 block of Golden Ring Road.

Police say the Ohlers were killed a short time after returning from a Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 26, 1998. The body of Joseph Ohler, 81, was in a backyard flower bed. The body of Bernice Ohler, 82, was in the front hallway of their two-story brick home.

Borchardt, a resident of the 6700 block of Havenoak Road, was charged after police learned that he and his girlfriend, Jeanne Sue Cascio, had been panhandling in the neighborhood, claiming that Cascio needed money for a cancer operation.

Police say the Ohlers gave $60 to Borchardt and Cascio, who used it to buy heroin that turned out to be fake.

The Ohlers were killed the next day when Borchardt and Cascio returned to the home to get more money, police said.

Cascio, 40, also of the 6700 block of Havenoak Road was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted by a Baltimore County jury in September on two counts of first-degree murder and armed-robbery charges.

In testimony yesterday, Michael West, a Baltimore County police detective, told jurors that Borchardt, two days after his arrest on Nov. 27, 1998, admitted stabbing both victims.

Borchardt dictated a seven-page statement to West and Detective Jay Landsman that showed detailed knowledge about the crime, West said.

"I stabbed Mr. Ohler three times in the stomach and twice in the chest," West quoted Borchardt as saying. "The knife was going in easy because it was so sharp."

Under cross-examination, West acknowledged that Borchardt's statement was not completely accurate, that he lied in saying he was alone when he committed the crime. West acknowledged that evidence showed Cascio was with Borchardt and assisted in the killings, wrestling with Bernice Ohler as Borchardt stabbed her.

West said the confession was still valid.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case, which was moved to Anne Arundel County because of pretrial publicity.

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