City man convicted of killing teenager who was to testify

Witness was going to be part of murder case in Baltimore County

August 05, 2004|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old Baltimore man was convicted yesterday in city Circuit Court of killing a teenage witness who was to testify in a murder case in Baltimore County.

Jurors deliberated for 4 1/2 hours before finding Tayvon Whetstone guilty of six counts, including first-degree murder, kidnapping and handgun charges.

Prosecutors say Whetstone and an accomplice coaxed 17-year-old Rickey Wallace Prince into a car, drove him to a secluded area and shot him in the back of the head. Prince's body was found in a ravine behind a strip club in the Curtis Bay neighborhood April 23 of last year.

Christopher Mann, 21, accused of being the accomplice, is expected to stand trial this week or next. Police believe he was the shooter and Whetstone was the getaway driver.

Prince's family wept as they heard the verdict announced. Many wore his likeness, along with his birth and death date, airbrushed on T-shirts and blue jeans.

"We now have justice for my son," said Prince's mother, Jackie Davis, as she choked back tears. "He never caused any harm to anybody."

His relatives added that he was killed 25 days before he was to graduate from Milford Mill Academy. He had been accepted at a trade school, where he was to study electronics, they said.

Prince, of the 8100 block of Garden Drive, was listed last year as a witness in a murder case involving one of Mann's friends, a case involving Mann's half-brother and a case involving Mann and Whetstone.

Princes' name was read by prosecutors in open court in Baltimore County a week before he was killed, authorities said.

Whetstone's lawyer, Michael A. Jeter, said during the trial that police arrested the wrong person and that his client did not know Prince.

But Assistant State's Attorney Marybeth Ayres called the killing "an execution-style murder."

Whetstone told police that he drove himself, Mann and Prince to a secluded area and that Mann got out of the car with Prince, according to court documents and testimony.

Whetstone said he heard one shot and that Mann got back into the car and said, "Let's go."

Whetstone said he did not see Mann with the gun but that Mann had hidden it, according to the documents and testimony.

Members of Prince's family said yesterday that they will also attend Mann's trial.

"My brother was the father I never had," said Rickia Prince, 14, Rickey Prince's younger sister. "My father died before I was born."

Whetstone's sentencing is scheduled Sept. 21.

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