Week In Review

September 25, 2005

Edgewood

Man pleads guilty in cabbie's death

A man pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder in the December shooting of an Edgewood cab driver and father of nine, all but ensuring he will avoid a life sentence for a killing that police said was a gang-initiation rite.

As part of a plea agreement, Darrell Levon Miller, 20, will receive a 45-year sentence in exchange for testimony against his co-defendant, who police say was the gunman in the fatal shooting of 37-year-old Derald Howard Guess.

Miller faced a maximum sentence of life without parole for the crime, which was the catalyst for a countywide anti-gang campaign.

His attorney said the last-minute agreement was necessary because of Miller's ties to the Bloods, a New York gang that has established a growing presence in the southern part of the county in recent years.

"Given that he wasn't the shooter, I might have tried this case if not for the gang involvement," said attorney David P. Henninger. "I don't think the jury would have much sympathy for any of them."

Guess was killed early Dec. 8 after he left to pick up a passenger in a suburban cul-de-sac a block from his family's townhouse in the Harford Square neighborhood in Edgewood.

Miller was arrested without incident a month later. He told police in an interview that he was aware of the plan to shoot Guess, and that the cab driver was shot after money was taken from him. Co-defendant Wayne Lavon Bond, also of Edgewood, is accused of pulling the trigger.

A sentencing date for Miller has not been set. Bond's trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 14.

Maryland section, Page 3B, Tuesday, Sept. 20

Edgewood

County ends bid to block land auction

Harford County's top official said the county gave up on an 11th-hour attempt to block the auction of a 17-acre Army surplus property in the troubled Edgewood community.

After having passed on purchasing the property this year, the county was unwilling last week to pay the $3.5 million the General Services Administration deemed to be the property's worth, said County Executive David R. Craig.

The county put the value of the land at $2 million because there are 71 neglected apartment units on the property and those buildings would have to be razed to clear space for planned recreational fields.

GSA spokesman Gary Mote said the land was first offered to the county for $1 if it were to build correctional drug rehabilitation facilities or self-help housing on the property.

Craig's predecessor, James M. Harkins, declined when it appeared that a nonprofit organization and a private developer were pursuing a project on the parcel -- a project that eventually fell through.

Councilman Dion F. Guthrie, who represents the Edgewood area, expressed concern that the winning bidder could build Section 8 or low-income housing on the land, a possibility that Craig said is unlikely because the GSA's anticipated $3.5 million price tag is too high for low-income housing.

Craig said the county hopes to work with the winning bidder to keep some open space for the playing fields.

Maryland section, Page 7B, Wednesday, Sept. 21

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