Brill trial due to start

Columbia man, 19, charged in killing of girl, 14, last year

Judge to rule on evidence

Police transcripts of interviews released yesterday

October 18, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Scott Jory Brill told Howard County police detectives that he watched through a side-view mirror on his car while his friend, Frederick James Moore, stabbed 14-year-old Ashley Nicole Mason to death on a parking lot behind a Columbia Pizza Hut restaurant.

Then, he changed his story, admitting he choked her, but not "all the way."

Later, after nearly six hours of police interviews conducted over two days, Brill, 19, said that while Moore inflicted the fatal wounds, he stabbed the Long Reach teen-ager once in the stomach "after she was dead," according to transcripts of the interviews made public yesterday.

"[Moore] said that to make sure I wouldn't snitch. He said stab her," Brill told Howard County police detectives, according to the transcripts.

The 277-page transcript was entered into evidence yesterday during a motions hearing to determine whether Brill's statements to police should be admitted at his trial on a charge of first-degree murder.

The trial - by judge, not jury - is scheduled to begin in Howard County Circuit Court on Monday. Moore, 22, who has also been charged with first-degree murder, is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 5.

Brill's attorney, Warren A. Brown, grilled one of his client's interrogators, Cpl. Glenn Case, yesterday in an attempt to show that police used so much trickery that Brill's statements are unreliable.

After the hearing, Brown said his client admits that he was with Ashley the night of the killing. But while Brill says he saw Moore stab the teen-ager, he did not take part in the killing, Brown said.

Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, who is trying the case, is expected to rule today on the admissibility of Brill's statements to police.

The transcripts, which detail four separate interviews - three Dec. 15 and one Dec. 21, provides new information about the high-profile killing.

Police first approached Brill, who had been jailed a few days before the first interview on a probation violation, after receiving anonymous tips. According to the transcripts, Case and Detective Nathan Rettig eased Brill into the interview, noting that he had helped Rettig out in the past and asking him about his pregnant girlfriend.

Brill, of the 5700 block of Sweetwind Place in Columbia, at first denied any involvement, according to the transcripts, but later told the detectives that he was sitting in his car and saw Moore stab Ashley.

Throughout the interviews, the detectives confronted him with information about evidence and witness statements - some of which Case said yesterday wasn't true - prompting Brill to say, "Can I start over again?"

By the end, Brill gives this account, according to the transcripts:

Moore and Brill picked Ashley up near her Black Star Circle home after she sneaked out and the three drove to some friends' house in Oakland Mills where they watched karate movies, drank brandy and had sex.

After awhile, the three left in Brill's car. During the ride, Brill said, Ashley threatened to tell her boyfriend that she and Brill had sex. Brill said he placed his hands around her neck to choke her.

Moore pulled into the Pizza Hut lot at Route 108 and Bendix Road and he and Ashley got out and walked around the back of the car. Brill said he got into the front seat and saw Moore stab Ashley and drag her into the woods. When Moore didn't walk out for "a long time," Brill said he walked into the woods. Moore told him to stab her and he did - once, he said, after he thought she was already dead.

Brill said Moore later told him he killed Ashley because he had raped her.

Yesterday, Brown noted that his client said he stabbed Ashley through her shirt, but that there were no stab marks in the shirt, and that there were no pine needles on the driver's side of the car, and that Brill was the driver when the men left the parking lot. Blood and pine needles were found on the passenger side, Brown said during the hearing.

Later, they went back to the scene in search of the knife, a buck knife with a red wooden handle, but didn't find it, he said.

Police have said that a passer-by found the knife the morning of Nov. 3 but did not initially realize what he found and did not turn it in to police for a week.

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