Man found guilty in plot to kill judge

He faced sentencing in Balto. Co. robberies

October 06, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A Baltimore County jury convicted Christopher A. Denicolis yesterday of plotting to kill County Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz before the judge could sentence him for a string of armed robberies.

The jury deliberated less than four hours before announcing a guilty verdict of solicitation to commit murder.

During the three-day trial, Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst played a tape recording made by Baltimore County police of Denicolis discussing the murder plot with his cellmate, convicted killer Kenneth Moroz, in the county detention center.

Denicolis testified that he did not recall the conversation because he only considered it "hypothetical fantasy" and because he has memory loss from years of illegal drug use.

In closing arguments, his lawyer, Mark Van Bavel, told the jury his client could not be guilty because the tape did not prove whether Denicolis initiated the murder plot or if Moroz suggested it.

But Brobst argued Denicolis had a motive to kill Levitz because another judge might give him a sentence lighter than 20 years.

"The person who held his future in his hands was Judge Levitz," said Brobst in her closing statement. After the murder plot was discovered, Levitz recused himself from the case and another judge sentenced Denicolis to 20 years for the armed robberies.

Yesterday, Denicolis showed no emotion as the verdict was read. His mother wept.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. set Dec. 12 for sentencing. Van Bavel said he will appeal.

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