Man guilty in death of Jessup deli owner

Victim carrying $125,000 was robbed, shot in head

February 05, 2005|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A Howard County Circuit Court jury yesterday convicted a Baltimore man of first-degree felony murder in the fatal shooting of a Jessup deli owner in 2003 during a robbery that netted $125,000.

After deliberating for two hours, the jury found Walter J. Blannon, 39, guilty of participating in the robbery that ended in the death of Kwang Jun Kim, who was fatally shot in the head.

As the jurors were polled, Kim's wife, Eun, bent over, hugged herself and closed her eyes. Blannon, dressed in a gray prison jumpsuit, stood with his arms folded and his chin resting on one of his hands.

The jury also convicted Blannon, who lived in the 1600 block of N. Calvert St., of first-degree assault, robbery with a dangerous weapon and using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 19. The state will seek a sentence of life without parole.

Reginald Venable Jr., 47, of the 800 block of E. 33rd St. in Baltimore also is charged with first-degree murder and related counts in Kim's death. He is scheduled for trial Feb. 15.

"We hope this will help begin the healing process, and we will continue that process with the next trial," prosecutor Michael Rexroad said.

In closing arguments, the state presented evidence linking Blannon to the Oct. 8, 2003, crime, which was captured on surveillance video.

Kim, 53, of Ellicott City, was returning about 11 a.m. to Jessup Plaza Deli & Convenience, which sold sandwiches and sundries and offered check-cashing services in a strip mall in the 7800 block of Washington Blvd. He was carrying two bags filled with a total of $125,000.

Two men approached him from behind and grabbed his bags of money. Kim held on to the bags, yanking them as he backed into the store, but the men pulled them free. He ran outside, looked right and fell on the sidewalk, shot in the head.

Blannon and Venable were arrested at 11:41 a.m. after a high-speed car chase that ended in West Baltimore.

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