2 claim clients beaten at plant

Attorneys say men shot in Glyndon were clubbed afterward

One will talk to police

April 06, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

The attorneys for two men who were shot during a break-in at a Glyndon concrete plant say their clients were struck in the head with the butt of a shotgun as they pleaded for help while lying wounded on the floor.

Thomas C. Morrow, a Towson attorney, said one of the two brothers guarding the business that night struck Enrico L. Magliarella, 24, and Jonathan Steinbach, 24, after they were shot in a Back River Supply Inc. warehouse.

Morrow, who interviewed Magliarella on Saturday, also said the brothers taunted Magliarella and Steinbach with "vulgar comments" after they were shot March 19.

Gary Bernstein, an attorney for Steinbach's family, said Morrow told him that Steinbach "was struck in the head with the butt of the rifle while he was pleading for medical care."

Steinbach died a short time later. Magliarella and Justin Storto, 21,were hospitalized and later were arrested on burglary charges.

Magliarella plans to tell Baltimore County homicide detectives his account next week, Morrow said. "He heard `freeze,' and there was no time after that," the attorney said. "The next thing my client knew he was lying on the ground bleeding."

Police say the brothers, Matthew J. Geckle and Dominic A. "Tony" Geckle, were guarding the business in the 12200 block of Owings Mills Blvd., when Tony Geckle shot three intruders. The plant had been burglarized the two previous nights.

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst said she probably would ask a grand jury to decide whether either brother should be charged after homicide detectives complete their investigation.

Byron L. Warnken, a professor of criminal law at the University of Baltimore School of Law, said Magliarella's statements about being hit in the head could prove troublesome for the Geckles.

"The question is, did they honestly believe they must use force against a person that [had] just been shot to prevent them from causing harm?" Warnken said, adding that striking someone in the head with a rifle would be considered deadly force.

In court, the brothers would have to show that shots were fired in self-defense and that they didn't use more force than necessary to prevent the men from threatening them. "Even assuming they win the first battle, which I am not convinced they can, they now have to win two battles," Warnken said.

Morrison said his client was not seriously injured when he was hit with the gun. However, Magliarella was wounded in the head, back, buttocks and hand by shotgun pellets, he said.

Tony Geckle's attorney, Richard M. Karceski, declined to comment.

Matthew Geckle's attorney, Richard G. Berger, would not discuss the facts of the case, but he questioned Morrow's motives.

"There seems little doubt that these comments are a subtle attempt to put pressure on the state's attorney's office to charge my client," he said.

Bill Toohey, police spokesman, also declined to comment.

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