Harford killing due to go to the jury

March 31, 2006|By JUSTIN FENTON | JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER

Lacking fingerprints or trace evidence, and with a sole eyewitness account presented by a co-defendant who took a plea bargain last fall, the prosecution rested its case yesterday against an 18-year-old man accused of killing an Edgewood cabdriver in December 2004.

The defense followed suit shortly after the lunch recess. Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected to begin today.

Prosecutors ended nearly four days of testimony in Harford Circuit Court by showing a videotape from the crime scene that portrayed Derald Howard Guess, 37, bloodied and slumped in the driver's seat of his vehicle.

Wayne Lavon Bond Jr. is accused of shooting Guess in the head in a robbery-turned-killing, encouraged by gang members as part of an initiation, prosecutors say. If convicted, Bond could be sentenced to life in prison.

A defense motion for acquittal was denied yesterday by Judge Thomas E. Marshall. Bond's public defenders argued that the prosecution had failed to present evidence connecting Bond to the crime scene, other than the testimony of co-defendant Darrell Levon Miller. The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and will serve a 45-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against Bond.

Prosecutors submitted records that they say link Bond's cell phone to the call placed to the United Sedan Co. for a cab. But testimony has indicated that Bond's phone was frequently used by Miller and friends trying to contact Miller.

Miller's brother, who sought police after learning of the crime, also testified Wednesday that he overheard Bond tell the gang's leader that he had shot the driver.

Justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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