Glen Burnie man waives jury trial in murder case

DNA links him to slaying of two women in 2002

September 23, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie man waived his right to a jury trial on murder charges that could bring the death penalty and agreed yesterday to a prosecution statement that DNA evidence linked him to the slaying of his landlady and her daughter-in-law in 2002.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North said she would review that statement and additional materials from prosecutors and lawyers for Kenneth E. Abend, 42. She will decide Oct. 28 if Abend is guilty and, if so, of what crimes and whether he is eligible for the death penalty.

Abend is charged in the January 2002 shooting deaths of Laverne M. Browning, 70, and Tamie C. Browning, 36, of Glen Burnie.

At an emotional hearing yesterday attended by the victims' families, he pleaded not guilty to the killings and submitted a statement of facts agreed to by defense lawyers and prosecutors. In the statement, Abend did not challenge key components of the prosecution's case.

The move appeared to be the latest effort by defense lawyers to spare their client the death penalty.

As a record of the court, the statement stands in place of witness testimony that would have been heard at a jury trial and is considered evidence in the case.

In the report, prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that both victims' blood was found in Abend's apartment and on his clothes, and that it could be used to convict him on murder charges. It also reveals that a partially smoked Newport cigarette containing traces of Abend's DNA was recovered from Laverne Browning's black Chevrolet Monte Carlo, where the gun used in the crime was also found. A bloody handprint lifted from the trunk of Tamie Browning's white sedan -- where the women's bodies were found -- is an identical match to a print taken from Abend's left palm, the report says.

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