Judge OKs statements by defendant in killing

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

December 02, 2006

A Baltimore County judge ruled yesterday that prosecutors will be able to present at trial statements that a former University of Maryland, Baltimore County student made to police when he confessed to beating a woman to death after their first date and described in gruesome detail how he disfigured her body to prevent her from being identified.

Lawyers for John C. Gaumer, 23, had asked the judge to suppress the statements, arguing that they should be considered involuntary, in part because they were obtained during the time that police detained Gaumer between Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 before charging him with a crime.

The then-senior biochemistry major was handcuffed about 8 a.m. Feb. 7 when police arrived at UMBC to search his apartment. Gaumer wasn't interviewed by city police until about 4:20 p.m. and wasn't questioned by county police until 11:09 p.m. -- after investigators realized that 27-year-old Josie P. Brown of Hampden had been killed near a highway interchange in the Arbutus area.

He was formally charged with first-degree murder at 2:41 a.m. on Feb. 8.

After hearing from three detectives who testified in court, listening to a tape of Gaumer's recorded statement with city investigators and watching a DVD of the defendant's interview with county police, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Mickey Norman ruled that the delay was necessary and reasonable.

Gaumer told police during interviews in the city and county that he went into "a blind rage" after Brown changed her mind about going home with him. During his video-recorded statement at police headquarters, Gaumer also told detectives that he sexually assaulted Brown and sliced off her fingertips with a pocket knife, cut out her jawbone and teeth, and ripped her nose off her face, all to keep her from being identified.

Gaumer and Brown met on MySpace.com, an Internet site used for social networking, and arranged to go out Dec. 29. Brown's body was not found until Feb. 7, when Gaumer led detectives to the woods near the exit ramp from Interstate 95 to the Beltway south of the city.

Gaumer is scheduled to go to trial in January. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Jennifer McMenamin

Religion

Cardinal to speak at Har Sinai

Cardinal William H. Keeler will present the keynote address at 7 p.m. Monday at an event sponsored by Har Sinai Congregation's Brotherhood.

He will speak at Har Sinai Synagogue, 2905 Walnut Ave. (off Greenspring Ave.), Owings Mills. The lecture is free. For information, call 410-654-9393. Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to baltco.news@baltsun.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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