Baxter given continuance

Former Maryland basketball player will stay in D.C. jail until Wednesday at the earliest


Washington -- Former Maryland basketball player Lonny Baxter will remain in custody until at least Wednesday after a preliminary hearing yesterday in D.C. Superior Court.

Judge J.D. Doyle granted a continuance to the defense, allowing Baxter's lawyers more time to prepare a case to obtain his release from the D.C. jail.

Baxter, 27, of Rockville, was arrested early Wednesday on a gun charge and has been held without bail. The 6-foot-8 center on the Terps' 2001-02 national championship team appeared in court yesterday wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and blue handcuffs.

Among those attending the seven-minute hearing was Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams.

Baxter and a passenger in his white Range Rover were apprehended around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday by Secret Service officers about two blocks from the White House.

Acting on a tip that shots had been fired from a white SUV in the area, police said they stopped Baxter and found a recently fired pistol and two spent shells inside. Both he and Francis I. Martin, 35, of Temple Hills were charged with carrying a pistol without a license. Martin was released on his own recognizance; Baxter, the driver, was held without bail.

"He [Baxter] is holding up, under the circumstances," defense attorney Harold D. Martin said. "Anytime you're incarcerated in the D.C. jail, it's not the best of circumstances."

For his own protection, Baxter is being kept in solitary confinement "based solely on who he is," Harold Martin said.

Francis Martin stood beside Baxter at yesterday's hearing. Martin, who is about a foot shorter than Baxter, wore a long-sleeved striped shirt with the tail untucked, blue jeans and a black vest.

Defense co-counsel Richard Finci said he hopes to reduce Baxter's bail or have him released on his own recognizance Wednesday.

"There are constitutional issues at stake," Finci said. "We have not fully researched this yet. It's complicated."

The prosecution agreed to the continuance, said Brandi Garcia, assistant U.S. attorney. But she declined to comment on the case.

"It is a pending investigation," Garcia said.

Since he left Maryland in 2002, Baxter has played for six NBA teams in four seasons. He recently signed to play pro ball in Italy.

"We hope to somehow have him go there," Finci said.

Sun reporter Heather A. Dinich contributed to this article.

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