DNA evidence found, jury told

Man is third to be tried in Prothero's death

March 28, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Wesley Moore left a "calling card" near the Pikesville jewelry store where Baltimore County police Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero was killed in a robbery last year, a county Circuit Court jury was told yesterday.

Prothero, a 35-year-old father of five, was shot three times Feb. 7, 2000, as he chased four men after a robbery at J. Brown Jewelers, where he was working a second job as a security guard.

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst told jurors in opening statements yesterday that Moore left a key piece of evidence outside the store - a necklace with DNA from his skin cells on it.

"When he fled from the scene he left his calling card and it said I've been here, where Sergeant Prothero was murdered," Brobst said.

She said Prothero was entertaining a customer's 18-month-old child when Wesley Moore entered the store with three men about 11 a.m. and robbed it at gunpoint of more than $400,000 worth of watches.

"One of the bitter ironies is that he wasn't scheduled to work that day," Brobst said.

Brobst said Moore and his brother, Richard Antonio Moore, were arrested about two weeks after the slaying at a relative's house in Philadelphia, ending a nationwide manhunt.

But Paul DeWolfe Jr., Moore's lawyer, told jurors in his opening statement yesterday that his client was not involved in the robbery and made a "terrible mistake" by going to Philadelphia with his brother.

The necklace fell out of the leather jacket that Richard Moore was wearing the day of the robbery, he said.

"There's only one explanation. It came out of a pocket, it came out of a pocket of that jacket," DeWolfe said.

Wesley Moore, 25, of Baltimore is the third of four defendants to be tried on charges of first-degree murder in the slaying.

Richard Moore, 30, of Baltimore is scheduled to be tried in Harford County Circuit Court on April 17.

Donald Antonio White Jr., 19, and Antonio Marcel Talley, 23, both of Baltimore, were each sentenced to life without parole in the fall after they were convicted by separate juries of first-degree felony murder, armed robbery, assault and handgun charges.

In testimony yesterday, Suzanne Martindale, a saleswoman at the store, said she was holding silver lipstick cases and describing them over the phone to a customer when the robbers pulled out handguns and screamed for everyone to remain still.

Prosecutors had Martindale stand next to a photograph on a television monitor that was taken from store security videotapes and showed her talking on the phone as the robbery began.

"I'm telling the lady on the phone to call 911 because we're being robbed," Martindale said, as she stood alongside the photograph.

Martindale said she was terrified of being shot when Wesley Moore approached her.

"He asked me what I had in my hands, and I said `Nothing, sir,'" Martindale testified. "I was looking at his face and I was thinking, he's somebody's child."

Martindale testified that she was startled when she recognized Wesley Moore three days later when his photograph was broadcast in a television news report.

When she reported for work Feb. 11, she met with a county police detective and identified Wesley Moore from a photograph of him published that day in The Sun, she testified.

Judge James T. Smith Jr., who is hearing the trial, said he expects the case to go to the jury of six men and six women April 5.

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