Man found guilty in death

Prince George's man convicted of killing Columbia woman

`Personal and vicious murder'

Prosecutor says state will seek sentence of life without parole

Howard County

October 28, 2004|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A Howard County Circuit Court jury convicted a Prince George's man last night in the murder of a Columbia woman who was pregnant with his child.

After deliberating for 4 1/2 hours, the jury found Tjane C. Marshall, 28, of Suitland guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Shameka Fludd, 23, who was found shot four times in the face, lying in bed at her Stevens Forest apartment in Columbia's Oakland Mills village in May last year.

Fludd's friends and family sobbed and cheered as they left the Ellicott City courtroom after the verdict.

"I'm fine now," said Fludd's mother, Ruby Coleman-Brown of Washington. "She can rest; she can definitely rest."

"I feel sad and happy at the same time," said Fludd's sister, Yvonne Willis, 26, of Washington, through tears. "I just hope [Marshall] gets what he deserves when the sentence is read."

Prosecutor Michael Rexroad said the state will seek a punishment of life without parole at Marshall's sentencing Jan. 7. The 12-member jury also convicted Marshall of using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime.

Fludd - who had two children, a daughter and son who are 5 and 9, respectively - was an employee at a Laurel day care center and was working toward opening a center when she was killed.

She was four to five months' pregnant, according to police, and prosecutors argued that Marshall killed her because he did not want her to have his child.

"This was an up-close, personal and vicious murder," Rexroad said yesterday during closing arguments of the six-day trial before Judge Dennis M. Sweeney. "He shot her once, didn't think she was dead, then he went up close."

Marshall - who had fathered two children with different women and discovered that he had fathered another child after being charged with murder - was upset about Fludd's pregnancy, but that did not cause him to commit murder, the defense argued.

There was no physical evidence linking Marshall to the crime, and two other men - Eugene Jordan and Christopher Roberts - had more reason to want Fludd dead, the defense maintained. Roberts wanted custody of his and Fludd's child, and Jordan had an intimate relationship with Fludd and was upset that she was pregnant by another man, Assistant Public Defender Janette DeBoissiere told the jury yesterday.

However, police had cleared those men - Roberts was in Ohio, and Jordan was in a halfway house when the crime was committed - said prosecutor F. Todd Taylor Jr.

The state's key witness, Marshall's roommate, Rashaun Wall, testified that Marshall had detailed plans to kill Fludd. He said that on May 3 last year - the day before Fludd was found dead - he drove Marshall to a rental car business in Virginia, where Marshall rented a black Ford sedan, and that later that day he saw Marshall pack a bag with a black hooded sweat shirt, black jeans, latex gloves and a .22-caliber revolver.

Wall and Marshall drove to a party that night, and Marshall left after about a half-hour and planned to take Wall's car to pick up the rental car at their apartment, Wall testified.

Wall said that he later met Marshall at their apartment and that Marshall told him about the killing while on their drive back to the party. Wall said Marshall told him he accidentally shot himself in the foot and jumped off Fludd's balcony after killing her.

Wall testified that he burned Marshall's clothes, boots and latex gloves in a plastic trash can in an alley behind Wall's mother's home. He said he also threw the revolver into the Anacostia River. Police never recovered the weapon.

Wall signed an immunity agreement with authorities in exchange for his testimony after police used a search warrant to seize $10,000 worth of marijuana at his home.

Wall's cooperation included wearing a hidden wire to record a conversation that the state said was proof that Marshall was guilty. According to a 48-page transcript edited by police, Marshall told Wall, "I wasn't even close enough to the broad to get little splashes on me."

"Whose words are those?" Rexroad said. "The words of the murderer of Shameka Fludd."

However, DeBoissiere told the jury that the tape was uncorroborated testimony by Wall and was taken out of context. She urged the jury to be skeptical of the transcript, which she said was "one person's interpretation of what those words are."

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