Baltimore man sentenced to life in prison in 2001 fatal shooting

Victim, who was run over, was `ambushed,' judge says

May 04, 2004|By Antero Pietila | Antero Pietila,SUN STAFF

A 23-year-old aspiring rap lyricist was sentenced to life in prison yesterday in the murder of a West Baltimore man, who was blasted with a shotgun and then run over with a car.

In sentencing Kenneth Hiter of the 1000 block of W. Fayette St., city Circuit Judge John N. Prevas said the victim, 19-year-old Brian Reese, was "ambushed."

Reese was shot in the abdomen at close range April 9, 2001, after an argument sparked by comments made to a female. When Hiter was arrested two days later, blood matching Reese's was discovered underneath his car, police said.

"Disputes can be resolved in other ways," Prevas said.

A jury found Hiter guilty in March of first-degree murder and gun charges. During the deliberations, a thief used a key to get into the jury room and stole money and personal items from the jurors while they watched videotaped trial testimony in a courtroom.

Last year, Hiter was tried on the charges stemming from the slaying, but a mistrial was declared after the jury failed to reach an unanimous verdict.

Describing her dead son as a "poet and song writer," the victim's mother, Shaynonia Moss, yesterday said, "The music and the laughter left when Brian left." She asked Prevas to show no mercy.

The defendant's mother, Sonia Hiter, insisted that "my son didn't do" the killing.

"My son isn't a cold, vicious murderer," she said. "He is no different from Brian. Both of them were artists, both of them were creative people."

Asking for a life sentence, the maximum penalty, Assistant State's Attorney Marybeth Ayres said the defendant had shown no "remorse for this extraordinary level of brutality."

Defense lawyer Maureen O'Leary countered by saying that since Hiter claimed he is innocent, he could not show remorse. She described Reese's death as "an accident" and urged the judge to view it as a second-degree murder.

Of the defendant, O'Leary said, "He is young, and he has a lot of promise left."

Prevas rejected the defense's argument and said the only "plausible" way to understand what happened was to view it as an "ambush."

When the judge announced the life sentence plus three years to be served concurrently, the victim's mother started clapping. "I hope that boy will never get out," she said later.

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