Jury starts deliberating in detective slaying trial

Prosecutors say suspect drove killers from scene

December 15, 2004|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A city jury will resume its deliberations this morning of whether the alleged "getaway driver" in the 2002 shooting death of Detective Thomas G. Newman is guilty of first-degree murder.

Dozens of uniformed Baltimore police officers sat on courtroom benches yesterday to listen to closing arguments in the trial of the third and final suspect in the ambush killing of Newman, a 12-year veteran of the force.

The jurors deliberated for about four hours before being dismissed at 5:30 p.m. They were scheduled to resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m.

In his closing arguments, a prosecutor described Anthony A. Brown's role in Newman's death outside a tavern in Southeast Baltimore on Nov. 23, 2002, as "pivotal and integral."

"He knew of a plan. He had a role in it. And he fulfilled that role," Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Fraling told jurors.

Fraling said Brown, 36, spotted the off-duty detective at Joe's Tavern on Dundalk Avenue the night of the killing and then informed Jovan House and Raymond Saunders - who held a grudge against Newman because he had testified against Saunders' half-brother - of Newman's whereabouts.

The three then returned to the tavern, and Brown kept the car running during the shooting and then drove the two killers away, Fraling said.

Saunders pleaded guilty in October to first-degree murder, and House was found guilty in February of the same charge. Both are serving sentences of life in prison without parole.

Brown's attorney, Brian Murphy, said in his closing arguments that Brown was not the getaway driver. Brown, he said, does not have a license and doesn't know how to drive a stick-shift vehicle such as the one used that night.

Brown would face a possible sentence of life without parole if convicted.

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