2000 conviction for murder is upheld

December 15, 2005|By MELISSA HARRIS

Maryland's highest court upheld the murder conviction yesterday of one of two men convicted of stabbing and strangling a 14-year-old high school freshman behind a Pizza Hut in Columbia five years ago.

Frederick James Moore, 26, had argued that the trial court erred in barring testimony outlining his accomplice's history of violence against women, which he believed would have helped his case.

Moore also had wanted the public defender's office to pay for the services of a DNA expert to testify at trial, which he said that he could not afford. Moore had paid for a private defense attorney.

Six of the seven judges on the Maryland Court of Appeals disagreed, however, saying that only suspects represented by the public defender's office have a constitutional right to public money for an expert.

The appeals court also set out guidelines for suspects who are represented by public defenders. In such a situation, the court said that the suspect must have "a defense expert who will assist in evaluation, preparation and presentation" of DNA evidence.

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