Simple explanation for missing evidence at city courthouse

March 03, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

The case of the missing evidence in an attempted robbery trial in Baltimore Circuit Court last week had little to do with maliciousness and everything to do with cleanliness.

A courthouse maintenance worker swept up the evidence - three sets of photos - and jurors' notes and tossed them away with last Monday's trash, according to police, who investigated the incident.

"There was no note in the room that said, `Don't clean,'" police spokeswoman Ragina C. Averella said.

The materials were left in Judge M. Brooke Murdock's jury deliberation room overnight. They were discovered missing Tuesday morning before jurors were to render their verdict. Murdock asked jurors if they still felt confident deciding the case, and they said yes.

They deliberated for about two more hours, then convicted the defendants of attempted armed robbery and assault.

The defendants were Jason Mack, 19, of the first block of Overbrook Road and James Smith, 19, of the 2000 block of Clifford Road. The attempted robbery occurred May 8 in Fells Point.

An appeal is forthcoming, based on the missing evidence, said Smith's attorney, Flynn M. Owen.

"This is an issue the appellate court will certainly find interesting," he said.

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