News Digest


February 27, 2005

Man in melee seeks trial with friend of slain victim

In an unusual request, the youngest of the six men charged with killing a Pasadena teenager in a melee last summer has asked to be tried together with a man on the opposite side of the fight who faces other charges stemming from the brawl.

Karl H. Gordon, a lawyer for Richard E. McLeod, 19, filed the request Friday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. Gordon noted that much of the evidence and many of the witnesses called in the manslaughter trial of the Chestertown youth would be the same as those called for Marion J. Shepherd, a friend of victim Noah Jamahl Jones. Gordon refused to discuss why he made the odd request.

Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler said he would not talk about the case because he has filed a request for a gag order to limit publicity. However, he laughed about McLeod's motion.

Like his five co-defendants, McLeod is charged with manslaughter and related counts in the July 24 brawl that left Jones, 17, dead from head injuries. Prosecutors are seeking a single trial for all of them in May. However, their lawyers can ask that they not be tried as a group. The six were guests at the Pasadena home where the fight broke out.

Shepherd, 20, who has no fixed address, Jones and two others arrived uninvited at that house to get a friend they believed was in danger of being beaten there. By his own admission to a grand jury, Shepherd was carrying a handgun, and after the fight cocaine was found on him. He is charged with drug and weapons violations, and is due in court for arraignment tomorrow.

Another of Jones' friends, Tormarco Santonio Harris of Annapolis, was charged last week with having a stun gun at the brawl.

Defense lawyers have maintained that Jones was part of a group that showed up armed and ready to fight. Prosecutors said the defendants struck Jones, including after he was down.

2 who recanted testimony are charged with perjury

Twin brothers who last month recanted their testimony to a grand jury that linked Terrence Tolbert to a revolver police believe was used in an Annapolis slaying were arrested last week on perjury charges.

Jonathan A. and Jeffrey A. Griffin, 22, of Glen Burnie, were each indicted on two counts of perjury. They were arrested Wednesday night, a day before Tolbert was sentenced for first-degree murder and related counts. Jeffrey Griffin also was charged with misdemeanor assault and resisting arrest.

Tolbert was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole plus 30 years for the September 2002 carjacking-killing of Straughan Lee Griffin. The 51-year-old businessman was unloading his Jeep in front of his home in the city's Historic District.

A perjury conviction has a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

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