Two enter guilty pleas in separate 2003 killings

Son stabbed his mother

man was shot in Annapolis

Anne Arundel

February 08, 2005|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Two Anne Arundel County men pleaded guilty to second-degree murder yesterday in separate killings in 2003

Jason Austin Blevins, 26, of Edgewater pleaded guilty in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to stabbing his mother Dec. 12 in a Subway sandwich shop where she worked near Annapolis. A heroin addict, Blevins stabbed his mother 53 times and stuffed her body into a store refrigerator, prosecutors said.

Also yesterday morning, Shawn Eric Woodlin, 31, of Annapolis pleaded guilty to the Aug. 29 shooting of a man outside an American Legion hall in Annapolis.

Both men are to be sentenced in the coming weeks.

The killing of Mary Ella Ginger, 51, at the Subway restaurant shocked customers and merchants of the Festival at Riva shopping center.

After pleading guilty, Blevins sat still and showed no emotion as Assistant State's Attorney Pamela K. Alban read aloud a statement of facts on the case, including details about the murder.

Alban told Circuit Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis that Blevins killed Ginger after she told him and his wife, Jennifer Blevins, that they could no longer stay at her house.

Ginger ran a local day care center and had worked part time for several years at the Subway shop.

Alban said Ginger confronted her son, taking back her house keys after she found that he had been forging checks from her account and using a credit card without permission.

The Blevinses left Ginger's home, bought heroin and rented a room at a nearby hotel, Alban said. Once there, Jason Blevins left his wife and went alone to the Subway, where Ginger was working by herself, Alban said.

An altercation ensued, and Blevins stabbed his mother repeatedly.

Alban said Jennifer Blevins would have testified that her husband returned to the room with a bloody knife and the store's security videotape.

Under oath, she also would have revealed that Blevins used a hotel trash bag to dispose of the weapon, the tape and his blood-soaked clothes the next day, Alban said.

Prosecutors said Ginger's blood-stained wallet and checkbook were left at the scene and that a short time later, Blevins cashed a forged check from his mother's account. The check was stained with blood that matched Ginger's DNA.

Blevins was tracked several weeks later to Iowa, where he was being held on forgery charges in a separate incident. He could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 31.

Minutes after Blevins' hearing, in a separate courtroom, Woodlin pleaded guilty to killing Howard Eugene Stevens, Jr., 36, known as "Howdy" to his friends and family.

Stevens, an Annapolis man who family members said drove dump trucks for a living, was shot in the neck, shoulder and chest as he sat in a truck parked outside an American Legion hall on Forest Drive. Another man was fatally shot at the same American Legion hall in August 2002.

The courtroom was packed with those close to Woodlin and Stevens. Many wept quietly as Woodlin pleaded guilty.

After Woodlin's plea, Assistant State's Attorney Kimberly DiPietro presented to Circuit Judge Pamela L. North a statement of facts in the case, which revealed that Woodlin was seen talking to Stevens minutes before the shooting and that several witnesses who heard the gunshots saw Woodlin walking away from the scene.

After the hearing, defense attorney Warren Brown said his client was not a "cold-blooded killer" but rather a victim scarred by a violent past.

"He's a good guy, but he was suffering from a stressful mindset that flows from seeing your life pass in front of your eyes," Brown said.

Woodlin was attacked and shot by two masked men as he stepped off a bus in February 2003, Brown said, leaving him unable to manage his landscaping business. Woodlin was convinced that Stevens was the person who had tried to kill him, the attorney said.

Tanjala Brown, the aunt and guardian of four of Stevens' children, said she doesn't believe Stevens shot Woodlin, noting that the men had been longtime friends. No arrests were made in Woodlin's shooting.

Woodlin, whose sentencing is scheduled for April 1, could receive up to 30 years in prison. The use of a handgun in a crime of violence carries a mandatory five-year sentence.

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