4th trial ordered in killing of woman

Handyman convicted twice in Arnold resident's death

April 21, 2005|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

A state appellate court has ordered a fourth trial for an Annapolis handyman convicted of murder in the 1992 slaying of an Arnold woman.

The ruling by the Court of Special Appeals erases last year's murder conviction of Albert Gustav Givens, a handyman accused of killing 55-year-old Marlene Kilpatrick in the bedroom of her home.

Givens has twice been convicted of the murder of Kilpatrick, who was beaten, stabbed and sexually assaulted.

His first conviction was overturned in 1999 because of ineffective counsel. His second trial, in May 2003, ended in a hung jury. After his third trial in January 2004, Givens was convicted of first-degree murder and given a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

In its decision, the Court of Special Appeals said that in last year's trial, the court erred in its refusal to allow the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Kilpatrick to testify that the handyman's metal wrench did not match the woman's wounds. Prosecutors had argued that they did match and that Givens' DNA was found on a soda bottle from her kitchen table.

Defense lawyer William Davis, who represented Givens last year, told jurors at the most recent trial that the prosecution's case was an "illusion."

The appellate court's decision dealt a blow to Anne Arundel County prosecutors, who must again return to court to push for a conviction and life-without-parole sentence for Givens.

"I hope we'll be successful," said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee. "Two juries have found Givens guilty, and as I understand it, he's given the jury a different story every time."

Weathersbee said that with every trial, the case becomes more challenging.

"I can't recall another case that's been tried this many times," he said. "Why? Because it gets harder each time - it's very hard and frustrating."

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