Two businessmen charged with killing a man who broke into their Baltimore warehouse in June were allowed to go home yesterday evening after a bail hearing in which a prosecutor noted that the victim was shot all over his body, including in the back.
A city grand jury indicted Kenny Der and Darrell R. Kifer this week on first-degree murder charges in the killing of Tygon Walker, 37, who is accused of breaking into the warehouse where the men had a refinishing business.
At yesterday's hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Mark Cohen gave a sketch of what happened at 1301 N. Wolfe St. on June 30, the night Walker was killed.
Kifer and Der, both 35 and of Harford County, were on the first floor of the two-story warehouse when they heard noises upstairs, Cohen said. Armed with a handgun and shotgun, they went to investigate and discovered Walker, whom they shot in "all parts of his body, including his back," Cohen said.
Der's lawyer, David B. Irwin, said Walker threatened to kill the men when they confronted him, and that they fired from about 30 feet away.
Cohen said blood tests showed Walker had been drinking that night and "had drugs in his system at the time he was shot." Court records describe him as 6 feet tall and weighing 150 pounds.
A police report from that night shows that one of the men called 911 after the shooting and told police that someone "had entered the warehouse and had a hammer."
The men were released after pledging to pay $50,000 each if they fail to show up in court.
Irwin tried to distinguish this case from another like it in March in Baltimore County. "They were not there to lay in wait for anybody or anything like that," Irwin told Circuit Judge Allen L. Schwait.
In the March case, two brothers, Dominic "Tony" Geckle and Matthew Geckle, killed one unarmed man and injured two others who had broken into their concrete plant in Glyndon. The brothers were guarding the warehouse after it had been broken into the two previous nights.
A grand jury found the brothers were protected from prosecution under the self-defense law.
Yesterday, the sister of Jonathan Steinbach, 24, the man killed in March, was angry.
"I just want to know what is the difference between my brother's case and this case," said Diane Steinbach, 33. She said the two cases show that justice depends on where you live in Maryland.
The grand jury based its decision on investigators' testimony and statements the defendants made to police. The two men declined an invitation to testify in person, according to prosecutors.
Kifer and Der met at Towson University, where both studied business management. Kifer's wife said he is a full-time student there now, studying computer science. The couple live in Fallston.
Der, the oldest son of Chinese immigrants, lives with his parents in Baldwin.
The night of Walker's death, the men were on a deadline to finish a bar for the Mount Washington Tavern, where Der also works as a disc jockey, Irwin said.
Der's uncle, Chuck Der, said the warehouse had been broken into about a dozen times in the past year. "We told him it's not safe for you to be there at night, but he said, `We'll have a gun.'"
State police said Der did have a handgun permit.
Court records show Walker had been arrested eight times in Baltimore between 1993 and 1996.
Sun staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this article.