Handyman faces 3rd trial in slaying

Albert G. Givens accused of killing Arundel woman

January 22, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

For the third time in 11 years, Anne Arundel County prosecutors told a jury yesterday that handyman Albert G. Givens killed his friend's mother in her Arnold home - and defense lawyers disputed it.

Marlene Kilpatrick's body was found Jan. 3, 1992, by her daughter. She had been sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed.

At his first trial, in 1993, Givens was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole. A judge erased that conviction in 1999, ruling that a shoddy job by defense attorneys led to an unfair trial. A retrial last year resulted in a hung jury.

But assistant public defender William Davis told the jury that the prosecution's case "is an illusion."

In her opening statement yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney M. Virginia Miles said that DNA on a soda bottle places Givens in Kilpatrick's home, that an unusually clean wrench in Givens' box of oily tools matches the marks on the dead woman's skull and that Givens was seen near where Kilpatrick's car was parked after her death.

The first prosecution witness - Lisa O'Connell, the victim's daughter - wept as she testified that she ordinarily spoke with her mother daily but had been unable to reach her for two days and so stopped at her home.

But under cross-examination, O'Connell could not recall such details as whether her mother's appointment book was found and whether she reported a tool caddy missing from her mother's home. Shown past documents in the case, she said the reminder book was not found and that the tool tray was gone.

Givens, of Annapolis, has given several explanations of his whereabouts and for why his DNA was on the soda bottle police took from Kilpatrick's kitchen. The latest came during last year's trial. Givens took the witness stand and said one of Kilpatrick's relatives admitted to him that he killed the woman. Givens said he kept the information secret because the man threatened to kill Givens if he told anyone.

That was at odds with what Givens said under oath in December 1998 to win a new trial. At the time, he said he was at a friend's home, at his home, at his mother's home and traveling among those places during the hours Kilpatrick is believed to have been slain.

Prosecutors, who say both versions can't be correct, obtained a grand jury indictment charging him with perjury shortly after his second murder trial. The perjury trial is scheduled for Feb. 10.

Davis would not say whether Givens will testify in his own defense at the murder trial, which is expected to last about a week.

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