Jurors hear taped conversation between murder suspect, friend

Evidence offered in case of slain pregnant woman

October 21, 2004|By Phillip McGowan | Phillip McGowan,SUN STAFF

Howard County prosecutors in the first-degree murder trial of a Prince George's County man turned their focus yesterday to the defendant's wire-tapped conversation with an informant that might implicate him in last year's killing of a Oakland Mills woman.

Howard County police Detective Dan Lenick told jurors during the second day of the trial of Tjane C. Marshall, 28, of Suitland about burnt clothing and bullets that were discovered during the investigation of Shameka Fludd's death after police gained the cooperation of a roommate of Marshall's.

Police then arranged a meeting July 10 last year between Marshall and his roommate, Rashaun Wall, 21, on a Forestville parking lot. The meeting was recorded by Howard County police. The jury listened to edited portions of that conversation for about an hour yesterday.

"I wasn't even close enough to the broad to get little splashes on me," said Marshall, according to a 48-page transcript edited by police. "It wasn't, wasn't nothing. Everything's straight. I'm, I'm just letting you know that. I'm just telling you, you have nothing to worry about."

Fludd, 23, was found dead on her bed in her apartment on the evening of May 4 last year. She was shot in the face four times, and photos of the crime scene admitted in court Tuesday showed blood splattered on the bedroom walls and a nightstand.

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

Assistant Public Defender Janette DeBoissiere said in her opening statement Tuesday that authorities had not tied anyone to the evidence found in Fludd's apartment.

Authorities obtained the help of Wall, whose involvement has proved critical to the prosecution, after arranging an immunity agreement June 24 last year with the state's attorney's office. Later that day, Wall led investigators to three places in Washington where he said he disposed of or destroyed evidence, including a handgun he said he tossed into the Anacostia River, said Lenick, one of investigators looking into Fludd's death.

A dive team from the Washington Metropolitan Police Department did not find a weapon, Lenick said.

Wall also led detectives to burnt clothing left behind his mother's house. The next day, Lenick said, he led investigators to several 9 mm and .22-caliber rounds in a storm drain in Prince George's County.

To arrange the July 10 meeting, Lenick said, investigators helped to create a ruse to tempt Marshall into talking by circulating rumors that Wall was being charged as an accessory to murder in Fludd's death. Lenick, who was the only witness to testify yesterday, said phony papers were given to Wall's mother warning her about harboring a fugitive.

Detectives, assisted by Prince George's County police, monitored from a nearby building and recorded the conversation from a pager on Wall. The jury listened on headsets while reading along with a transcript.

"I'm going to take mine. Regardless. If they catch me, I'm not goin' to say you did this," said Marshall, according to the transcript. " ... Saying something about you [Wall] is going to [mess] me up."

In several places in the transcript, Marshall appears to be trying to align the story of his movements the night of May 3 and the early morning of May 4 with that of Wall's.

"No matter what happens ... this is what happened with you. Right?" said Marshall, according to the transcript. "We went to a party. ... Said I was going to do some, do something with some broad. I was gonna pick up some broad or whatever. See what I'm saying. We was all twisted. You don't know what time I left."

Police said Marshall drove from a party in Washington to Fludd's apartment early May 4.

Marshall was arrested seven days after the recorded conversation on murder and weapons charges.

Lenick said that Wall first spoke with investigators about Fludd's death on May 8 and provided "vague" answers regarding his whereabouts the weekend Fludd died.

Wall became more cooperative after a police search of Wall and Marshall's apartment in Forestville on May 29 turned up numerous bags of marijuana. DeBoissiere said Tuesday that $10,000 worth of marijuana was recovered and that charges against Wall were dropped. Prosecutors did not know the status of Marshall's drug charges.

Wall spoke with Howard County detectives at Prince George's police headquarters after being arrested that day, then requested a second meeting with them three hours later, Lenick said. Wall then talked with investigators about what gun might have been used to kill Fludd. Wall said he thought that Marshall had owned a .32-cal- iber revolver with a black handle, Lenick said.

He said that the next time he saw Wall was when Wall and his attorney signed the immunity agreement at the state's attorney's office.

Wall, who has been in witness protection since signing the immunity agreement, is expected to testify for the state.

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