Baltimore County prosecutors have filed notice of their intent to seek the death penalty against a man charged in the January shooting and attempted carjacking of a Security Square Mall merchant on the parking lot outside the shopping center.
The court filing in Brian Keith Rose's case makes it the seventh active capital prosecution in Baltimore County.
Deputy State's Attorney Stephen Bailey, who is handling the case, said prosecutors had been waiting for forensic evidence before deciding whether to seek a death sentence against Rose, who is accused of fatally shooting Warren T. Fleming, 31, the owner of Security Square Mall's Cingular Wireless store.
"We just wanted to be sure that what we thought we had was what we had," Bailey said. He declined to elaborate, saying that he cannot comment on evidence in a case before trial.
Defense attorneys successfully sought yesterday to postpone the trial, which had been scheduled for November.
Public defender Jennifer B. Aist told Baltimore County Circuit Judge Susan M. Souder that another attorney had been brought in on the case after prosecutors filed notice June 9 of their intent to seek a death sentence.
The state public defender's office requires that defendants accused in capital cases have two attorneys, including one who has experience handling a death penalty case.
Paul B. DeWolfe, the chief public defender for Montgomery County, will take the lead on Rose's case. He represented convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad in his Montgomery County murder trial until a judge ruled in March that Muhammad was permitted to act as his own lawyer.
DeWolfe also handled the case of a man convicted in the 2000 killing of Baltimore County Police Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero, who was shot during a robbery at a jewelry store on Reisterstown Road where he worked a second job as a security guard.
Rose's trial is now scheduled for March.
Fleming, a husband and father of two, had been in his store early Jan. 5. He was getting into his car about 10:30 a.m. for a visit to his nearby home before a scheduled haircut and basketball game when he was killed.
His father, Wayne T. Fleming, said after yesterday's hearing that the family has kept open the Security Square Mall store and opened a second Cingular store - in Randallstown - since his son's death.
"We're doing OK," he said. "Life goes on. But there are no days that go by without dealing with something that is related to Warren's absence."
Rose, 21, was arrested 13 days after the store owner was found dead beside his four-door Mercedes on the mall parking lot in what police said was an attempted carjacking.
Rose, who is also known as Kemp Mitchell, Mitchell Kemp and Bryan Keith Rose, was convicted in November 2003 in Baltimore County of stealing a police car. He received a 15-year sentence with all but the eight months he had served while awaiting trial suspended. He was placed on five years' probation.
He was arrested in December 2003 in Baltimore on charges of ramming a car into a police vehicle and pleaded guilty Sept. 30 in Baltimore County to violating his probation from the earlier theft case.
Although prosecutors asked for prison time, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Robert N. Dugan terminated Rose's probation unsatisfactorily and sentenced him to the year and 10 months he had served since being arrested on the city charges.
"Conduct yourself in a civil manner. All right?" the judge told Rose.
"All right," the defendant responded.
Nine weeks later, Rose is alleged to have shot Fleming while trying to steal the merchant's car.