Court orders reopening of Essex murder case


The Maryland Court of Appeals has ordered a Baltimore County judge to reopen the case of a convicted murderer to hear new evidence that could show she was not directly involved in the killing an elderly Essex man.

Fransharon Jackson of Arbutus is serving a life sentence for the murder of Claude M. Bowlin, 73, who was beaten to death in his home during a robbery in August 1997. Bowlin died after being beaten in the head and suffocated by a gag that was stuffed in his mouth.

A co-defendant, Cory A. Williams of Baltimore, also was convicted of murder. Prosecutors argued at his trial that Williams was the person who beat Bowlin.

Yesterday, the state's highest court ordered Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith to hold a hearing to consider a note written by Williams after Jackson's trial in which he said Jackson "had nothing to do with the gagging" of Bowlin.

Smith had rejected a motion by Jackson's attorney requesting such a hearing.

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