Trial opens in killing of woman

Prosecution says man shot her so she could not give birth

Defense: `He had no reason to kill'

The defendant already had two children by two women

Howard County

October 20, 2004|By Phillip McGowan | Phillip McGowan,SUN STAFF

The thought of fathering a third child drove a Suitland man to gun down a pregnant mother last year, Deputy State's Attorney F. Todd Taylor told a jury yesterday in Howard County Circuit Court.

"He wanted to move on with his life without the burden of another child," said Taylor in his opening statement in the first-degree murder trial of Tjane C. Marshall, 28, who is accused of killing Shameka Fludd, 23, at her Oakland Mills apartment complex May 4 last year.

Police said that Fludd was carrying Marshall's third child, and that Marshall concluded that having another child would "ruin his life," according to charging documents. Fludd was four to five months pregnant, police said.

Marshall had fathered two children with separate women, and since being charged with murder has discovered that he fathered yet another child, said Assistant Public Defender Janette DeBoissiere.

She described her client as a "womanizer" who also dealt drugs. Although Marshall isn't "committed to women," he has not reacted violently to similar circumstances, she said.

"He had the same conversations with Shameka that he had with the others ... that he wasn't ready to be a father," DeBoissiere said.

Taylor said Marshall "had the motive - to prevent her from having a child she desperately wanted."

DeBoissiere concurred with Taylor's assessment that Marshall "was very upset that [Fludd] was pregnant." But she said that didn't spur him to kill Fludd, who taught at a day care center in Laurel.

"He had no reason to kill her," DeBoissiere said.

Marshall maintained a relationship with the mothers and children, DeBoissiere said. She told the jury that Marshall "spent most of the day" on May 3 last year with a daughter and her mother at Camden Yards.

Police discovered Fludd's body after her grandmother, Louella Stukes, failed to reach her by phone for at least 24 hours.

Marshall has been jailed since July 17 last year, when he was arrested on murder and weapons charges.

Yesterday, jurors were shown a taped interview with Marshall and Howard County detectives from a few days after Fludd's death. In it, Marshall said that after leaving Baltimore, he joined friends in Washington and partied with them well into the morning hours of May 4.

Taylor told the jury that a call made from Marshall's cell phone at 1:26 a.m. May 4 put him in the vicinity of Columbia. Charging documents state that Marshall left a party in Washington early May 4 and drove to Fludd's apartment, in the 5800 block of Stevens Forest Road.

Taylor said the prosecution will rely on testimony obtained from a wire-tapped conversation that Marshall had with an apartment roommate, Rashaun Wall, in which Marshall incriminates himself.

DeBoissiere said that Wall, who received immunity from prosecutors, cannot be believed. She said police dropped drug charges against Wall in Prince George's County in exchange for his testimony against Marshall.

"There is no physical evidence anywhere connecting anyone" to this crime, DeBoissiere said.

Fludd was found lying in bed, with covers up to her chest, fire and police officials testified. The prosecution said Fludd was shot four times in the face.

The defense team said the time of Fludd's death is uncertain, based on the condition of the body.

Both of Fludd's children were with relatives at the time she was killed. There was no indication of robbery at the scene, said Howard County police Officer Jason Hall.

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