Jury finds man, 21, guilty of murder of 15-year-old girl

Teen's burning body was discovered at Gwynnvale Park in Pikesville

July 23, 2005|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County jury yesterday found a Milford Mill man guilty of murder in a killing that prosecutors said was planned by four friends to prevent a 15-year-old girl from testifying against one of them in a statutory rape case.

Ogden E. "G-Wizz" Coleman, 21, was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder by the jury, which deliberated for about six hours.

Two co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in the killing of 15-year-old Quartrina K. Johnson testified against Coleman this week, saying he choked the girl. A fourth man charged in the case, Jason Terrence Richards, is to go on trial next week.

Quartrina's foster sister, 14, testified this week in Baltimore County Circuit Court that she had a sexual relationship, starting at age 12, with Richards, who is 25.

Michael Xavier Shelton, 19, who pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit murder in exchange for a 50-year sentence with at least 40 years suspended, testified that he helped Coleman take the girl's body to a park. He said he saw Coleman pour gasoline on the body. The girl's body, still burning, was found early July 20, 2004, at Gwynnvale Park in Pikesville.

Eric Thomas "Ock" Watkins, 19, who testified that he hit Quartrina with a board as she struggled, pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder in exchange for a life sentence with all but 60 years suspended. He testified that the four men, Johnson and her foster sister drove to a school in South Baltimore. Watkins said Richards then doled out duties.

Coleman's attorney, Marshall T. Henslee, has said that the men decided to blame Coleman for the killing because he was arrested first and they believed he gave information to police. He also said that the two co-defendants were not credible witnesses.

In his closing arguments, Henslee said, "These are people the state considers honest and trustworthy."

Assistant State's Attorney Allan Webster said in his closing that Watkins and Shelton were eyewitnesses to Quartrina's murder and were consistent in their accounts of what happened.

"I think the two witnesses and their testimony was corroborated by other witnesses and other evidence," Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Dever, who also prosecuted the case, said after the verdict was announced.

Judge Patrick Cavanaugh is scheduled to sentence Coleman Oct. 4.

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