In retrial, man gets 35-year term in 1995 killing of pregnant mistress

Reduced sentence for ex-teacher leaves victim's family distraught

March 14, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Keith Alexander Brown, twice convicted of murdering his 19-year-old pregnant mistress, was sentenced to 35 years in prison yesterday after emotional testimony from the family of victim Makeya Chante Stewart, who was shot eight times in a West Baltimore alley.

"We have been forced to relive the worst time of our life," said Stewart's mother, Jill Sullivan. "I have come to believe that to get any rights in Baltimore City, all you have to do is become a criminal and hire a lawyer whose job it is to keep criminals on the street."

Stewart's family was distraught because Brown, 32, had won a new trial on appeal, after he was convicted of first-degree murder and handed a life sentence without parole in 1996.

After his retrial last week, a jury convicted him of a lesser charge of second-degree murder. Though he was given the maximum sentence by Judge David Ross, he will be eligible for parole in 13 years.

Court documents indicate Stewart and Brown met in 1994, before Brown was married. After Stewart found out about the marriage, the two continued seeing each other. Stewart was six weeks pregnant with Brown's child, which prosecutors say was a motive for the killing.

The Court of Appeals granted Brown a new trial because his wife had testified at his original trial.

His wife, who knew about the affair and had told Brown and Stewart to stop seeing each other, testified that Brown confessed to her hours after the Sept. 10, 1995, murder.

According to Maryland law, such an admission is confidential between a husband and wife and not admissible in court unless the spouse gives permission. Brown, a college-educated Pikesville man who once taught in Baltimore City schools, has maintained his innocence. He declined to speak to the court yesterday.

But Brown's mother took the stand and tearfully told the court about her anguish, though she did not ask the judge for leniency.

"I don't know the depth of your pain and you don't know the depth of ours," Joan Brown told Stewart's family. "I know we were a family who had two children we love deeply, and we would have given our lives for. We all need to heal now. God bless us all."

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