A 60-year-old Northeast Baltimore man pleaded guilty yesterday to shooting two men at an Overlea catering hall, leaving one of them paralyzed.
William Thomas Dowdy of the 2200 block of Pinewood Ave. was convicted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and a handgun violation by Baltimore County Circuit Judge J. Norris Byrnes in the May 15, 1999, shootings of Dennis Rembert Jr., 40, of Cockeysville and Duane Thomas, 28, of Baltimore.
Dowdy pleaded guilty as jury selection in his trial was scheduled to begin. Assistant State's Attorney Mickey Norman said he will seek a life sentence.
Dowdy has also entered an insanity plea, maintaining he is not criminally responsible, and a hearing on that plea will be held later this year.
Byrnes granted a request by Assistant Public Defender Gayle Robinson, Dowdy's lawyer, to postpone that hearing pending the outcome of a psychiatric evaluation.
Dowdy admitted yesterday that he drove to his former place of employment, Overlea Catering, in the 6800 block of Belair Road and complained to Rembert that he "was being blackballed in his efforts to get another job," Norman said.
Rembert, the general manager, told Dowdy to leave the property and turned to walk away, Norman said. Dowdy then pointed a handgun at Rembert's head and shot him in the neck, he said.
Thomas, who was loading a truck nearby, was shot once in the leg and then shot again in the leg and buttocks as he pleaded for his life and tried to flee, Norman said.
"I was yelling, `No, please no,'" Norman said, quoting Thomas' statement to police after the shooting.
Dowdy fled in his 1991 Cadillac, and when city police arrived at his Northeast Baltimore home, he met Officer Stacy Quinter at his door with a 9 mm handgun.
Dowdy shot at Quinter, and Quinter, a 14-year police veteran, shot Dowdy in the leg, Norman said.
Dowdy will face trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court on charges of attempted first-degree murder and handgun violations for shooting at Quinter, Norman said.
Dowdy was found sane in an evaluation at Clifton T. Perkins State Hospital, but Robinson said a defense psychiatrist might contest that finding.
Dowdy was found by city Circuit Court medical staff to be possibly suffering from dementia and complications from alcohol addiction, Robinson said.
Thomas has had to undergo eight surgeries as a result of the shooting, and Rembert is now a paraplegic, Norman said. "This guy completely ruined a young man's life by his actions," he said.
Rembert, a former executive chef who worked in the restaurant business for 25 years, said he plans to complete vocational training and go back to work, possibly as a restaurant consultant or in the computer field.
"I still have my mind, and I think I'm pretty sharp," he said.
Thomas said the shooting has made him more religious.
"Believe it or not," Thomas said, "it's really strengthened my faith and my relationship with God."