Woman goes on trial in mass robbery

Middle River resident facing about 100 counts in incident at reservoir

January 23, 2003|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

Eight months have passed since nearly 50 young people were robbed at gunpoint near a popular Loch Raven Reservoir swimming hole, and in that time, at least half of those arrested in the attack have pleaded guilty, moving one of the county's most bizarre 2002 cases toward closure.

But Candace M. Greever, 30, the only woman charged with being part of the mass robbery, which ended with the attackers ordering their victims to strip and enter the chilly water, has insisted on her innocence. Yesterday, the Middle River woman got her first chance to prove it to a jury.

Greever is standing trial on nearly 100 counts combined of robbery, attempted robbery and robbery with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors said she stood next to one of the gunmen and helped direct the attack from a position high on a rocky shoreline area called the "cliffs."

But Greever has said she was not part of the robbery.

While she acknowledges that she drove a number of the men involved in the crime to the reservoir the afternoon of May 31, she said she had no idea that they had planned an attack.

Only one of the dozens of victims - who ranged from ages 15 to 21 - told police that he saw Greever during the robbery, said her lawyer, Leslie J. Dobres.

"How could [the rest] not have noticed her?" Dobres asked in her opening statement, gesturing at her client, a large woman with thick, long red hair. "She was wearing a bathing suit."

Assistant State's Attorney Mickey Norman said that more than one person would testify to seeing her directing the attack.

He said that during the robbery Greever was next to Omar Adam Harris, 21, of Baltimore who police said stood on a high point of the cliffs and pointed a handgun down at the groups of young people.

Norman, along with at least three witnesses who testified yesterday, said Greever yelled down at the two men who were taking items from the swimmers, telling them what they missed and who was hiding their belongings.

Teen testifies

A 15-year-old boy who was charged as a juvenile in the attack and has signed an agreement with prosecutors testified that he and six men and Greever gathered throughout that Friday morning and discussed going to the reservoir to rob people.

He said he knew only a few of the young men planning the robbery and said the others were friends of friends he met that day.

Court papers show that the group thought the Loch Raven "cliffs," which are a short hike through the woods from the nearest road, would be a good place for a robbery because the steep terrain would essentially trap people.

As it turned out, that plan backfired for the robbers.

After they left, at least one of the victims called 911 on a cellular telephone he had hidden.

Quick police response

The police caught one of the getaway cars on its way from the reservoir, and soon found the other.

Police charged Harris, Greever, Pierre Darnel Williams, 19, Antonio Joseph Washington, 23, George Stanley Morgan, 23, Raymond J. Hurst, 19, Michael Nedeloff, 18, and the 15-year-old in the crime.

Williams, Harris and Washington have pleaded guilty. They are scheduled to be sentenced next month.

The status of cases against Morgan, Hurst and Nedeloff was unclear yesterday.

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