Man, 46, pleads guilty in killing, robbery of Jessup deli owner

Plea bargain avoids term of life without parole

sentencing set May 23

February 15, 2005|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A 46-year-old Baltimore man due to go on trial today in Howard County Circuit Court in the killing and robbery of a Jessup delicatessen owner in October 2003 agreed to plead guilty to felony first-degree murder and a weapons charge yesterday and accept a life term plus 20 years. Sentencing is scheduled for May 23.

Reginald Venable Jr. of the 800 block E. 33rd St. escaped a possible sentence of life without parole in exchange for his plea, according to his defense attorney, Jonathon Van Hoven.

Venable was one of two armed men who stole $125,000 in cash intended for check-cashing from Kwang Jun Kim, owner of the Jessup Deli, on Oct. 8. When Kim resisted, the other man, Walter J. Blannon, shot and killed him.

Blannon was found guilty of first-degree murder Feb. 4, after a five-day jury trial in Ellicott City. He will be sentenced May 19.

A gas station attendant who saw the victim's wife screaming and running after the getaway car wrote the license number on his hand and called police, who later spotted the vehicle and gave chase.

Venable was a passenger in the car, and was shot and seriously wounded at the end of the chase when he pointed a pistol at a Baltimore County police officer who had joined a multijurisdictional pursuit of the car down U.S. 40 into Baltimore, where it crashed.

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