Youth enters plea in killing

Teen to get 45 years on five counts in death of woman, 26

Likely a witness for state

Prosecutors say he wasn't present when pharmacist was shot

February 26, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

The fourth and final defendant in last summer's deadly carjacking of a Glen Burnie pharmacist pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court even though prosecutors say he was not present when Yvette A. Beakes was killed.

Brian C. McMillan, 18, agreed to a 45-year jail sentence for five counts, including first-degree murder, carjacking and kidnapping.

His plea agreement is sealed, but was likely made in exchange for his testimony against Jamal D. Barnes, who prosecutors say masterminded the kidnapping, then led Beakes into the woods and shot her in the head.

Barnes is married to McMillan's sister, Iasha McMillan Barnes, who was in court yesterday with their infant daughter.

Barnes was indicted last week on federal charges that could carry the death penalty.

The other defendants, Brian Wilson, 16, and Larry J. Walker Jr., 16, pleaded guilty in a quietly arranged proceeding in Circuit Court last week. If they comply with their plea agreements, which also are sealed, Walker could get up to 45 years, and Wilson could get up to 35 years.

They also are likely to testify against Barnes.

If McMillan does not complete the terms of his agreement, he could receive a maximum of life in prison plus 100 years, said Judge Joseph P. McCurdy, who accepted McMillan's plea.

Beakes' family decided not to show up in court yesterday because of the graphic nature of a statement of fact read by prosecutor Sharon Holback.

Holback said Beakes, 26, struggled with her captors for at least two hours while her arms and legs were bound. When she screamed for help, they turned up their music and rolled up the windows of their van to muffle her cries.

The incident started Aug. 8 when Barnes, 24, set out to find an easy robbery target because he urgently needed money to cover up an earlier crime, the cashing of a stolen $1,367 insurance check, Holback said. He brought along Wilson, Walker and McMillan.

They saw Beakes driving her "slick" 2001 Acura after leaving a pub near Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Holback said.

The four bumped her car, and when she got out, they kidnapped her at gunpoint, he said. Then, Barnes, who was driving, dropped McMillan at his house in the 2500 block of Garrett Ave. when he asked to go home, the prosecutor said.

The remaining three withdrew $500 from Beakes' account before driving to a wooded area in Southwest Baltimore, where Barnes shot her, Holback said.

Beakes, who graduated from the University of Maryland pharmacy school in 2000, worked for Kmart Corp.

After the four arrests, two Anne Arundel County 911 operators were fired for failing to pass on to police officers information about the crime that might have saved Beakes' life.

McMillan's lawyer, Timothy Fitts, said McMillan pleaded guilty to murder despite not being present during the shooting because it was the best deal.

If his case had been moved from state to federal court, as Barnes' case was, McMillan could have faced the death penalty or life in prison.

He also said McMillan found himself in "very unfortunate circumstances" the night of the murder.

"He is remorseful of his involvement," Fitts said. "There was an agreement to hang out and joyride, and one thing led to another. He was caught at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Sentencing for McMillan and the two juveniles is set for April 16.

Prosecutors are expected to recommend that they be remanded initially to a juvenile prison facility.

Holback said the killing of Beakes was among the most shocking in the city last year because she was an innocent, unwitting victim.

"She struggled for her life," Holback said. "What makes this case so brutal is she could have been any woman, any daughter, any mother."

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