Owner has remorse for gunfire, lawyer says

He says client thinks his actions were legal

March 23, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

The attorney representing one of the brothers involved in the shooting of three suspected burglars at a Glyndon warehouse early Monday said yesterday that his client is "extremely remorseful" but confident that he did nothing illegal.

The brothers - Matthew J. Geckle, 36, and Dominic A. Geckle, 31 - have hired separate attorneys as they prepare to face possible criminal charges in the incident, which left one man dead and two wounded. Police said they have found no evidence that the three intruders were armed.

Richard G. Berger, a Baltimore attorney who represents Matthew Geckle, said his client sympathizes with the victims' families and never intended for his all-night vigil at Back River Supply Inc. to end in gunfire.

The brothers own the concrete company, in the 12200 block of Owings Mills Blvd., and were sleeping in a warehouse that had been burglarized twice earlier in the weekend.

"He is quite upset that this was the end result," Berger said. "There was no intent for any lives to be taken or [for anyone to be] injured."

Berger said he supports the Baltimore County state's attorney's office, which has said it will probably take the case to a grand jury. "I think the state's attorney is doing absolutely the right thing," Berger said. "They are not rushing to judgment, and cooler heads are prevailing. ... I expect when all facts are known and investigation is completed, Matt will not be indicted."

Berger, who refused to talk about the facts of the case, said he speaks only for Matthew Geckle.

Court documents indicate that Matthew Geckle and his brother, Dominic, were armed with shotguns and that Dominic fired at the three men who entered the warehouse. Richard M. Karceski, a Towson attorney representing Dominic Geckle, declined to comment yesterday.

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst defended statements she made this week that a grand jury should decide whether criminal charges should be filed against the brothers.

"We intend to present all the information and to inform the grand jury of the relevant and appropriate laws," Brobst said, noting it will be weeks before the case is heard.

An attorney representing one of the victims criticized Brobst on Wednesday for not arresting, charging and jailing the suspected shooter immediately.

Berger, a former Baltimore prosecutor, said those comments were "foolish" because, under Maryland law, the brothers were the victims of a violent crime, second-degree burglary. Noting that a rifle was stolen from the warehouse that weekend, he said, "I would suggest that a reasonable person, when confronted by perpetrators of a violent crime, had reason to believe those person would be armed and dangerous."

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