Deliberations begin in teen's murder trial

March 21, 2009|By Nick Madigan | Nick Madigan,nick.madigan@baltsun.com

A Baltimore County jury began deliberations yesterday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of a teenager accused of fatally stabbing a customer who stopped at a Catonsville gas station last year. The victim was to have taken his wife minutes later to a hospital to give birth.

Earlier yesterday, the jurors viewed a video of a police interview in which Daniel E. Thompson Jr. told of stabbing Carlos Adolfo Santay-Carrillo after he tried to take Santay-Carrillo's wallet and the victim grabbed hold of him.

Thompson said Santay-Carrillo, 19, refused to buy a compact disc from him. "I was kind of mad 'cause I was broke. I was still mad and I wasn't thinking straight," he said.

The jury broke off deliberations after about an hour and will resume them Monday.

Santay-Carrillo's wife, Claudia Sales, was in labor at home at the time of the confrontation, waiting for her husband to return and drive her to Howard County General Hospital. When he failed to arrive, an ambulance took her to the hospital, where she delivered a healthy son early the next morning - Mother's Day.

Thompson told detectives that he wanted to obtain money to buy his mother a Mother's Day gift and to buy marijuana. Thompson was 17 when the stabbing occurred and is now 18.

After the prosecution rested its case, Judge Judith C. Ensor rejected a request by Thompson's lawyer, Margaret A. Mead, to dismiss the murder and armed-robbery charges against him.

Mead argued that Thompson did not have a premeditated intent to kill or rob the victim at the Carroll Fuel station in the 5200 block of Baltimore National Pike.

She said Thompson saw that Santay-Carrillo had cash and on the spur of the moment tried to grab the money. When the victim resisted and held him, Thompson was in a "state of panic," she said.

Thompson told police in the interview that "as soon as I remembered I had [the knife] on me, I used it. I just grabbed it."

Prosecutor William B. Bickel said Santay-Carrillo was carrying $500 for hospital and baby expenses. The victim "was about to experience one of the most precious moments that an adult can experience - the birth of a child," Bickel said in his closing argument.

"The defendant's need for weed was more important than the life of Santay-Carrillo," he said.

Santay-Carrillo was stabbed five times, including once in the heart, and was cut six times, Bickel said.

Santay-Carrillo's wallet ripped apart during the struggle, and Thompson ran off with half of it, dropping it nearby, Bickel said. Thompson told detectives that he did not get any of the money.

In her closing argument, Mead told jurors that the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an intent to commit a robbery, let alone a murder.

She said that Thompson has expressed "incredible, deep remorse."

Detective Matthew Walsh elicited from Thompson in the interview that he was a 10th-grade student who had not been arrested before. Walsh said on the stand that Thompson's mother told him her son had been in counseling for marijuana addiction. He said his mother was allowed to speak with the teen twice during his police interview.

In the video of the interview, Walsh praised Thompson, of West Edmondale, for being honest about what happened, but said, "It's not excusable, what you did."

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