A Baltimore judge denied bail yesterday to three Northeast Baltimore men charged in the fatal shooting of Mount Vernon restaurant co-owner John P. Darda during a Monday morning robbery attempt.
Only one of the men, Derrick Bernard Quarles, 20, of the 3800 block of Echodale Ave., had legal counsel at the separate District Court hearings, held at the Central Booking and Intake Center.
Retired Judge Paul Alpert denied assistant public defender Dawn Marie Nee's request for $200,000 bail for Quarles, a former employee of the City Cafe. Nee said Quarles should be allowed bail because he has lived with his mother at the same address for eight years and is not a flight risk.
Police say that Quarles phoned brothers Kion and Jamaha Eason to prepare for a robbery after Darda invited him to accompany him to the bank to deposit $3,000 from the weekend's receipts. The Eason brothers, who live in the 4600 block of Marx Ave., confronted Darda on Morton Street, police said. The father of three from Bel Air was killed with a single gunshot to the head after trying to fend off his attackers with an umbrella.
At a candlelight vigil last night at Chase and Morton streets near the shooting scene, about 200 people -- friends, customers and area residents -- listened to tributes to Darda and a recital of the 23rd Psalm. Councilman John L. Cain of the 1st District read a council resolution expressing sympathy for Darda's family.
At the hearing yesterday, Kion Eason, 20, who court officials said has an 11th-grade education and was unemployed at the time of the killing, held his hands to his face while standing. As a court officer recited evidence in the case, Eason closed his eyes as if in deep thought.
When Alpert asked Eason whether he understood the charges against him, he nodded. He also nodded when asked whether he had been advised of his right to counsel. Alpert told Eason he faced a maximum sentence of life plus the possibility of 43 years if convicted.
After Eason sat, his younger brother, Jamaha, 17, the alleged shooter, stood. Jamaha Eason has been charged as an adult. He told the judge he understood the charges against him, and Alpert told him that if convicted he faced life in prison plus the possibility of about 93 years.
The brothers asked no questions and made no statements during their hearings.
The bail hearings in the highly publicized homicide lasted about 10 minutes each. The only drama yesterday occurred when courtroom artist Beth Otter asked Alpert to order Quarles to stand during his hearing, enabling her to sketch him.
Alpert ordered Quarles to stand, and he did so with his hands covering his face.
"I assume that's him, and he's putting his hands over his face," Alpert said. "You'll have to sketch what you see."
A John Darda Family Trust Fund had been established in care of Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co., 1100 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21201.
Staff writer Jamie Stiehm contributed to this article.