Carjacking suspect to be tried on charge of assaulting woman

Baltimore & Region


Leeander Jerome Blake, who was charged in a 2002 carjacking-murder in Annapolis but cannot be tried in the case after a U.S. Supreme Court action last week, soon will face trial on charges of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

Blake's lawyer told an Anne Arundel County District Court judge in Annapolis yesterday that his client wanted a jury trial on the assault charge. The request tentatively sends the case before a Circuit Court judge Tuesday. But Blake's lawyer, Ivan J. Bates, said that because he cannot be there, he will seek a delay.

Blake, 20, is accused of misdemeanor assault and two other charges stemming from an incident that his ex-girlfriend said took place June 30. She wrote in court papers that after she rebuffed his efforts to speak with her, "he harassed me all the way up the street," took her cell phone and threw it on the ground, and grabbed her necklaces and a bracelet.

Outside the courtroom, Bates said that Blake has not bothered his ex-girlfriend since then and has made restitution.

Last week, the Supreme Court refused to revive Anne Arundel County prosecutors' case against Blake in the September 2002 carjacking and shooting of Straughan Lee Griffin as the businessman was unloading his sport utility vehicle in front of his Historic District home. County prosecutors lost appeals of rulings that barred his statement to police from being used against him because of improper police questioning. Under state law, the failure of the appeal cost them the case. The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the Maryland attorney general.

Federal prosecutors in Baltimore, who met with Anne Arundel County prosecutors Monday, are considering bringing federal charges in the fatal carjacking.

Yesterday, Bates said Blake has been fired from jobs because of the murder charge, and was working toward obtaining a high school equivalency diploma.

Blake's co-defendant in the Griffin slaying, Terrence Tolbert, was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving life without parole plus 30 years.

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