Teen gets 45 years in killing of woman

He is one of four charged in '01 carjacking, shooting

April 30, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore man who pleaded guilty in the carjacking and killing two years ago of a Glen Burnie pharmacist was handed a 45-year prison sentence yesterday, minutes after a hostile courtroom confrontation between the families of the victim and the defendant.

Brian McMillan, 19, pleaded guilty to five felony charges in Circuit Court, acknowledging that he and three friends targeted Yvette A. Beakes, 26, as she left a downtown tavern in August 2001 because his brother-in-law needed money to cover up an earlier crime -- cashing a stolen $1,367 insurance check.

Judge Joseph P. McCurdy accepted the plea agreement and sentenced McMillan to life in prison, suspending all but 45 years.

A man described as the mastermind of the crime, Jamal D. Barnes, 25, was sentenced to life in federal prison last month. Barnes is married to McMillan's sister, Iasha McMillan Barnes.

The other two defendants -- Brian Wilson and Larry J. Walker Jr., who were 15 at the time of the killing -- pleaded guilty last year to charges including carjacking and first-degree murder. Both were charged as adults and have not been sentenced.

At yesterday's hearing, Beakes' brother, Jason Beakes, gave a victim-impact statement, saying he believes that some of McMillan's family members who were in the courtroom also were involved in the crime.

"There are some other people in this room who are not being charged, but we know they're involved," Beakes said, though he did not elaborate in his statement. No others have been charged or are under investigation in the case.

McMillan's father, Barry McMillan, became agitated, yelling at Beakes: "I'll remember your face." Barry McMillan continued to scream at Beakes before being led out of the courtroom by a sheriff's deputy.

Beakes' mother, LaVerna J. Cordova, also spoke to the court, saying her daughter's killing still seemed unreal.

"I can't believe I'm here and she's not." Cordova said. "It's still not a real event to me. I hope those who are incarcerated for this will live in terror like my daughter lived in terror that night until her life was taken."

McMillan's lawyer, Warren A. Brown, tried to nullify McMillan's plea agreement, which was made in February last year when McMillan had a different lawyer, Timothy Fitts. The judge denied Brown's motion, which said the state did not prove McMillan committed the crimes.

McMillan pleaded guilty to murder in Beakes' killing, even though he was not present at the time of her death. Under Maryland law, if a defendant is engaged in a felony that leads to a murder, that defendant can be held accountable for the death.

The night of the killing, Aug. 8, 2001, Beakes had gone to meet friends at Pickles Pub near Camden Yards. Authorities said she was targeted as she left the tavern that night by Barnes and his accomplices as they combed the streets, looking for unsuspecting drivers who appeared wealthy.

They trailed Beakes' new Acura almost to her Glen Burnie apartment, then the young men staged an accident by ramming into the back of the Acura with a van driven by Barnes. When Beakes got out of her car to inspect the damage, she was grabbed at gunpoint by Walker, who wore a ski mask and wielded a semiautomatic handgun, according to prosecutor Sharon Holback.

Barnes, who was driving, dropped McMillan at his house in the 2500 block of Garrett Ave. in Baltimore when he asked to go home, the prosecutor said.

The remaining three withdrew $500 from Beakes' account before driving to a wooded area in Southwest Baltimore, where Barnes shot her, Holback said.

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