Howard Co. man guilty of murder

Men argued over woman before stabbing

May 25, 2007|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,sun reporter

A Howard County jury convicted a Savage man yesterday of second-degree murder in the November stabbing of an acquaintance at the Copper Stallion Motel on U.S. 1 in Elkridge.

Deliberating for 7 1/2 hours after a three-day trial, the jury determined that Adrian Maldonado, 23, known as "Dre," did not act in self-defense when he stabbed Marvin Walter Harding in his heart, thigh and hands as they quarreled over Harding's girlfriend, with whom both men were apparently involved.

During opening arguments, prosecutor Stacy Mayer characterized the case as being "about the inequities of bringing a knife to an argument."

Virginia Lee Johnson, a former resident of the Copper Stallion who witnessed the argument, demonstrated how Harding, 39, known as "Bo," jabbed his finger in Maldonado's face as he berated him. Maldonado stood outside the motel with his back against a wall.

"Bo was asking why did [Maldonado] go tell [Harding's girlfriend] something," Johnson said.

Johnson testified that she heard Harding say he had "had enough" and then saw him suddenly crumple to the ground. She testified that she did not see the stabbing because Maldonado's 5-foot, 8-inch, 260-pound frame blocked her view.

"It happened so fast," Johnson said.

After the stabbing, Johnson said, she hit Maldonado in the head with a bicycle but he managed to run away. Police arrested Maldonado hours later after Johnson spotted him near U.S. 1 and Guilford Road and alerted police officers eating at a nearby restaurant.

The jury chose to believe Johnson's account, though she had earlier signed a statement alleging that Harding had been jumped by a group of people. On the witness stand, Johnson said that she lied because she was afraid to reveal that she and Harding's girlfriend had crack cocaine in her motel room.

Maldonado, who has a lengthy criminal record, faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison. Howard County Circuit Judge Richard S. Bernhardt is scheduled to sentence him Aug. 17.

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