Prosecution to conclude its case in murder trial

Prince George's man faces charges in woman's death

Victim's body found in freezer

April 22, 2005|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

The state is expected to conclude its case today in the Howard County Circuit Court first-degree murder trial of a Prince George's man accused of killing a Northeast Baltimore woman and stuffing her body into a freezer.

Throughout the trial of Anthony T. Williams, 33, prosecutors have been attempting to piece together a tale of a sexual encounter involving three people that ended in the death of Tamaria Hughes, whose body was found in a freezer in Ellicott City on March 6 last year.

Williams' girlfriend, Kathy L. Gray, 41, of the 3200 block of Corporate Court in Ellicott City, also faces a first-degree murder charge and is scheduled for trial May 2.

Hughes' death was the county's only homicide in 2004.

During the state's case, which began Monday before Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, friends of Hughes described her as an outgoing, open-minded bisexual woman. Hughes, 36, of the 2200 block of Pentland Drive, worked as a crossing guard for Baltimore City schools, had four children and was engaged.

Cheryll Germaine, a mutual friend of Hughes and the couple, testified that after she turned down an invitation by Williams and Gray to engage in a sexual encounter last spring, she asked Hughes if she would be interested.

"She said, `I'll do it.' I said, `Are you sure?' " Germaine, of Baltimore, testified Monday. "She said, `No, no, no, I'll do it. No problem.'"

Prosecutors contend that after Hughes arrived at Gray's Ellicott City townhouse in the early morning of March 4, 2004, the couple beat and strangled her, took her jewelry and shoved her body into an off-white 2.5-feet deep, 35-by-21.5-inch freezer in the kitchen.

Prosecutors claim the couple then drove Hughes' Honda Civic to a motel in Prince George's County to decide what to do next. According to charging documents, they recruited a man at the motel to help dump Hughes' body.

The charging documents state the man - who was not identified in the documents and did not testify for the state - informed Prince George's County police and agreed to help police.

Prince George's County police detective Mike Carlson testified he gave the man a pickup truck - a police undercover vehicle - and asked him to meet the couple with the truck.

Carlson said on March 6 he followed the truck to the Ellicott City townhouse and then saw it driven out of the area with a white freezer in its bed. The truck, which police said was driven by the man and had Gray and Williams as passengers, was soon stopped by Howard police who had been watching them.

Hughes' body was found in the freezer.

"She was frozen solid," prosecutor Kim Oldham said during opening statements. "She was head first, contorted, literally like a pretzel."

Medical examiner Dr. Carol Allan testified that Hughes was killed by strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head. She said she couldn't determine the date of Hughes' death because her body had been frozen.

George Psoras Jr., Williams' attorney, asked Allan about auto erotic asphyxiation - a type of sex in which a person's air supply is cut off to heighten sexual arousal. Allan said such asphyxiation would not leave the kind of injuries she found on Hughes' body, such as excessive bleeding, and she also said she had never seen blunt force trauma with an auto erotic asphyxiation death.

Police searched Gray's townhouse and testified that the home smelled strongly of bleach and garlic, and there appeared to be a trail of garlic powder leading from the kitchen to the master bedroom upstairs. Police also found wet bed sheets in the washing machine and two pieces of paper that Oldham said "read like a list of sexual suggestions."

Police also searched Hughes' car, which prosecutors claim the couple had taken, and Howard County police detective Jason Luckenbaugh testified that it contained a pick ax, a shovel, rope, chemical-resistance gloves and two bottles of muriatic acid.

Psoras told the jury during opening statements that Gray killed Hughes, and Williams is guilty only of trying to help dispose of the body.

While cross-examining state witnesses, Psoras has been attempting to distance Williams from the crime - pointing out that only Gray's name was on the motel's registration that listed one occupant, and a necklace belonging to Hughes was pawned by Gray.

Psoras said that while Williams, of the 5100 block of Barto Ave. in Suitland, had been in and out of jail - where he was married - he has never engaged in violent crime and is a street minister.

Psoras called Gray "very, very desperate," and said Williams told her he was going back to his wife the weekend before Hughes was killed.

He said Williams was using crack cocaine in the townhouse's bathroom when Hughes was killed, and he didn't have sex with her because of the drug use.

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