Court upholds conviction in 1993 murder

October 12, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The state's highest court upheld yesterday the conviction and life-without-parole sentence of a man convicted of raping and killing a woman in Annapolis.

Unsuccessful in past appeals of his conviction, Alvin Winslow Gross again failed to convince the Court of Appeals that a poor job by his lawyer was to blame for the outcome of his 1994 trial in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

The Court of Appeals said that, given the overwhelming evidence of his guilt, the verdict would have been no different had defense attorney Peter S. O'Neill taken different approaches to some issues.

Fred Warren Bennett, who argued the appeal, said he was disappointed and would speak with his client and his client's family about further appeals. Bennett said he had not seen the court's 23-page opinion. Gross' family had no comment on the case.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North faulted O'Neill's work at trial and in 1999 ordered a retrial. That decision that was overturned in 2000 by the Court of Special Appeals.

A jury convicted Gross, then 21, of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, kidnapping and handgun charges in the Dec. 19, 1993, death of Margaret Courson, 26, who lived in an Annapolis rooming house.

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