Man gave an alibi, denied killing student in Columbia

March 05, 2004|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

With investigators grilling him about his alleged role in the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old computer student two years ago, Tavon Donya Sands offered up an alibi - and a denial.

He was with his girlfriend, getting drunk, all night, Sands told the lead detective on the case. And although he heard a white Cadillac was seen near the scene of the crime, he has never had such a car, Sands told investigators during a profanity-laced taped interview.

"I didn't [expletive] shoot nobody, man. And I know that's what you getting at, man," he said before ending the interview. " ... Questions over, sir."

Howard County prosecutors played the tape for jurors yesterday during the third and final day of testimony in Sands' trial on first-degree murder and 12 other charges related to the fatal shooting of DeShawn Anthony Wallace on Jan. 25, 2002, in Columbia's Oakland Mills village.

Sands, of the 5400 block of Cedar Lane in Columbia, is accused of conspiring with two of his cousins to rob Wallace, his brother and three friends that night - and of shooting Wallace in the head because he would not obey an order to get on the ground. One of Sands' cousins, Jonas L. Askins, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and a gun charge last year and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Although Sands insisted to police that he had no involvement in the shooting, prosecutors said this week that both his alibi and his claims about the Cadillac are "lies" and offered testimony and evidence in an attempt to rebut his claims.

Sands' girlfriend, Joy Martinez, testified Wednesday that she was at work at an Ellicott City sub shop at the time of the killing, and Martinez and one of her friends have testified that Sands was driving a white Cadillac the night of the killing.

Martinez also testified Wednesday that Sands confessed twice to killing a "boy" and described the robbery to her in the hours after the shooting. Defense attorneys have argued that Martinez's account is unreliable because her story changed.

Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning. Jurors are expected to begin deliberating today.

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