Man, 30, pleads guilty in slaying

He is one of five who beat mentally ill man at Cumberland Mall

May 25, 2004|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A Cumberland man who authorities say instigated the gang-style beating death of a mentally ill man in August pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to second-degree murder.

Under a plea agreement, William Charles Kinser Jr., 30, faces maximum prison time of 13 years, said Allegany County State's Attorney Michael O. Twigg.

Kinser is the last of five co-defendants to come to trial in the death of William M. Bodes, 34, who died Aug. 2 after being severely beaten by four men and a teenager as he walked at Cumberland Mall.

Kinser will be sentenced Aug. 13.

Last week, Nathaniel Irvin Johnson was convicted of second-degree murder in Bodes' death, and in March, Edward Allen Campbell also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and has been sentenced to 16 1/2 years in prison, Twigg said.

"The significant factor with those three is those three had blood evidence on them," Twigg said yesterday.

Two other co-defendants, Glen Curtis Spencer, a juvenile who was charged as an adult, and David Earl Troutman Jr., were witnesses for the state. Spencer pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, and Troutman pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, Twigg said.

Johnson, Spencer and Troutman await sentencing, Twigg said.

The brutal attack wasn't random. Authorities say Kinser and Bodes were former roommates, and court documents show Kinser had been convicted of assaulting Bodes several months before the fatal attack.

"Basically, we had five individuals who attacked a man as he was walking down Cumberland Mall about 2:20 a.m.," Twigg said. " ... There was a call of an assault in progress and when the police arrived, they found the victim, Mr. Bodes, unresponsive but still alive. He was taken to Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

"The autopsy revealed that Mr. Bodes died as a result of this beating, which was complicated by the fact that he had a pre-existing heart condition," Twigg said.

The killing rocked the quiet town of Cumberland, where authorities say homicides occur about once every 18 months. The case was moved to Baltimore County because of extensive publicity.

Twigg said he is pleased with the outcome of the state's case against Kinser, who entered a guilty plea before jury selection was scheduled to begin.

"We felt good about our evidence," Twigg said, adding that prosecutors will argue for the full 13 years at sentencing. "I believe that the amount of sentence sufficiently reflects the seriousness of this crime."

William Saltysiak, Kinser's attorney, said he plans to ask Judge Thomas J. Bollinger for leniency at sentencing. When asked why his client agreed to a plea, Saltysiak said, "He thought in light of all the circumstances it was the best choice for him."

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