Sentencing postponed in slaying of fetus

Pre-sentence probe found unfinished

July 08, 2008|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,Sun Reporter

The sentencing hearing of a man convicted of killing a pregnant woman and the pair's unborn baby in Parkville last year was postponed yesterday after the judge discovered that a pre-sentence investigation was not completed.

David L. Miller, 25, had been scheduled to be sentenced yesterday in the June 2007 deaths of Elizabeth Walters and the fetus she was carrying. It was the first time Maryland's fetal homicide law had been used in the death of an unborn child.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz decided to reschedule the sentencing after attorneys in the case determined that the judge's order for a pre-sentence report never made it to the Department of Parole and Probation.

At judges' requests, state agents compile reports that include information about a defendant's criminal record, family and background and the crime for which he is being sentenced. The agents also often interview defendants and include those comments in their reports.

The sentencing was rescheduled for September.

The judge also denied a request for a new trial from Miller's attorneys, who argued that the lead homicide detective in the case prejudiced jurors when he became choked up on the witness stand.

"There is an obligation of defense attorneys to make any conceivable argument that can be made, no matter how far-fetched or how improbable," Levitz said. "This is ... one of those arguments."

Miller, a married man who had only a casual relationship with Walters, was convicted in March of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the 24-year-old woman and the unborn baby girl she had planned to name Olivia.

He was also convicted of attempted murder for shooting her best friend. That woman, Heather Lowe, drove Walters to the defendant's Parkville home so that the pregnant woman could try to speak to him about the baby. He shot them both in Lowe's car at a nearby shopping center.

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