Woman guilty in murder of husband

Man, 69, was shot during robbery that she admitted arranging

April 06, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 35-year-old nurse pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday in the shooting death of her husband during a robbery of their Woodlawn home that police say she arranged.

Rena Filipiak entered an Alford plea yesterday as a jury was about to hear opening statements in her trial on first-degree felony murder charges.

An Alford plea means that Filipiak does not admit guilt but acknowledges that evidence would be sufficient to convict her if the case were tried.

She will face up to 30 years in prison when she is sentenced July 11 by Judge Thomas Bollinger Sr.

Assistant State's Attorney John R. Francomano said Filipiak helped plan the Sept. 4 robbery, during which two men burst into the couple's home in the 7200 block of Stony Barr Road and shot Anthony Filipiak, 69, once in the head.

Police found the victim lying on the floor of his bedroom, Francomano said.

He said Rena Filipiak used crack cocaine and arranged the robbery to pay drug dealers.

The day after the killing, police charged Bobby Marcel Lops, 24, of Woodlawn after Rena Filipiak told investigators that he appeared at the door asking to borrow a cup of sugar just before two gunmen burst in behind him.

An automatic handgun with Lops' fingerprints on it was found in bushes near the house, Francomano said.

Charges against Lops were dropped after autopsy results showed that a revolver, not an automatic, was used in the shooting.

Police began to focus on Filipiak when they learned she had a drug problem and that she had made inconsistent statements about the incident.

A neighbor, Travis Best, told police he had seen Filipiak at her front door shortly before the shooting signaling to two men as they approached the house.

Filipiak, in a written statement Sept. 18, admitted to police that she orchestrated the robbery. She said the victim was not supposed to be hurt but was shot when he resisted, Francomano said.

No other arrests have been made in the case.

A. Dwight Pettit, Filipiak's lawyer, said after the hearing that Filipiak does not know the identities of the killers. "She is very, very adamant that she did not know who these people were," he said.

He said Filipiak is a registered nurse with no criminal convictions and that the couple were married for 13 years and had two children.

The victim was a retired lineman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., prosecutors said.

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