A Baltimore handyman who police say robbed and fatally beat his employer in November 2001 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court.
Erik T. Green-El, 33, of the 2000 block of Penrose Ave. is to be sentenced by Judge John M. Glynn on March 24 in the killing of Michael Patrick Roberts, 49, of Marriottsville.
Under a plea agreement, he will be sentenced to life but ordered to serve only 30 years, said Assistant State's Attorney Frank Rangoussis. He will also be on five years of supervised probation.
"I think it was a big relief to the family that he admitted his guilt in open court for everybody to hear," Rangoussis said. "I felt that we had a strong case."
Green-El worked as a handyman for Roberts for at least a few weeks before the murder and lived rent-free in a rowhouse owned by Roberts on Linnard Street in Southwest Baltimore, Rangoussis said.
He said that Green-El forged his name on a check and asked Roberts to cash it for him. Roberts did so, then found out it was fraudulent.
Roberts threatened to go to the police, Rangoussis said. At the same time, Roberts asked Green-El to move out.
The men met at the house Nov. 26, 2001, the last time Roberts was seen alive, Rangoussis said.
After Roberts' family reported him missing, police found his badly beaten body, with a plastic bag over the head, in the basement. He had been beaten in the head and face with a blunt object, and robbed of his car, wallet and cell phone.
With a tracking system that used a signal from the phone, police located Green-El driving Roberts' car a few hours later, Rangoussis said.
In Green-El's wallet, police found numbers that matched numbers dialed from Roberts' cell phone beginning Nov. 26, the date he disappeared, Rangoussis said.
Finally, the prosecutor said, police discovered a purchase of size 9 1/2 Timberland boots from a Greenmount Avenue store on one of Roberts' credit cards. When Green-El was arrested, he was wearing similar shoes, Rangoussis said.