Teen suspects in killing, hijacking in Annapolis are denied bail

Documents call incident a robbery gone awry when victim resisted theft

October 29, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel and Amanda J. Crawford | Andrea F. Siegel and Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

Two Annapolis teen-agers were ordered held without bail yesterday on charges that they killed a man during a robbery-carjacking outside his home in the state capital's historic district last month, a crime that shocked the quiet neighborhood.

Leeander Jerome Blake, 17, and Terrence Tolbert, 19, both of the 1300 block of Tyler Ave. in the Robinwood public housing complex, are charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, armed carjacking and two related counts in the execution-style shooting Sept. 19 of Straughan Lee Griffin, 51, who was unloading groceries when he was killed.

"I'm just scared, that's all," Blake told District Judge Martha F. Rasin during a bail hearing, conducted via closed-circuit television from the county jail. Tolbert said little, aside from telling the judge he has family in the area and is expecting to be a father soon.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Cogan told the judge that both teen-agers confessed to taking part in the crime. However, Blake's charging documents do not say anything about Blake being questioned by Annapolis police.

Blake's uncle said in court that the arrest has devastated the family.

"My nephew has never been in anything of this magnitude," he said, describing him as "just a kid."

Blake's mother, clearly distraught, described her son in court as "a good child. He goes to school every day." She also said, "I understand what the other family is going through."

Tolbert's charging documents describe an armed robbery gone awry when Griffin resisted, with the elder suspect naming Blake, an Annapolis High School student, as the gunman and driver.

According to the documents, the pair intended to rob Griffin and he was shot in the head when he resisted. His attackers then took the keys to his 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and drove over him as they fled in it, leaving him in a pool of blood.

Griffin's brother and a friend watched the court hearing.

"I found it very sad for all the families involved," Sande Dyott, the friend and neighbor, said later.

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