Teen guilty of murder

Jury convicts him in stabbing of expectant father in gas station holdup

March 24, 2009|By Nick Madigan | Nick Madigan,nick.madigan@baltsun.com

A teenager who admitted stabbing an expectant father last year at a Catonsville gas station, but said the killing was the unintentional result of a botched robbery, was found guilty Monday of murder.

Daniel E. Thompson Jr., who turned 18 a month after the killing on May 10, was convicted of armed robbery and first-degree felony murder, a charge invoked when a death occurs during the commission of another felony. The jury, which deliberated for about five hours over two days, did not find Thompson guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, evidently agreeing with defense attorney Margaret A. Mead's assertion that he had not intended or planned to kill anyone.

Prosecutors are seeking a life term without parole for Thompson, who is to be sentenced April 9.

Thompson had told police that he was seeking money to buy marijuana and a Mother's Day gift when he fatally stabbed Carlos Adolfo Santay-Carrillo, 19. The Baltimore County Circuit Court jury watched a videotape last week in which Thompson told police that he had reached for his knife after Santay-Carrillo refused to give up his wallet.

Santay-Carrillo, who had gone to the Carroll Fuel station to fill up his car's tank so he could drive his wife to a hospital for the birth to their son, suffered 11 wounds, prosecutors said, including a fatal thrust to the heart.

"We're grateful for the support of the prosecutors, because it was through them that the law took its course for the person who did this," the victim's wife, Claudia Sales, said in Spanish outside the courthouse.

On the day of the killing, she had been waiting for Santay-Carrillo at their home nearby and, when he failed to return, summoned an ambulance for the trip to Howard County General Hospital. She was told that her husband had been injured but was spared the news that he had died until after she delivered the baby the next day, Mother's Day.

Sales said after the verdict that she talks to 10-month-old Carlos about his father. "Papa is no longer here," she said she tells the baby, "but his spirit is still with us."

The victim's parents, Conception Santay and Maria Carrillo, who traveled from their native Guatemala for the trial, said that it had not been easy to sit in a courtroom a few feet from the man accused of killing their son. The couple will return to their hometown, Chiantla Huehuetenango, on April 13, after attending Thompson's sentencing.

"Lamentably, we'll leave with empty hands, without my son," Santay said in Spanish. "We thank God that justice has been served, but we are unhappy that my son will not return with us."

Even though his grandson is growing up without a father, Santay said, "I believe he will move forward in his life." When the boy is old enough to ask about his father, he said, "we're going to point toward the sky."

The baby and his mother will remain in the Baltimore area, said Sales, 23. She and her in-laws attended every day of the trial, and she testified on its first day, Wednesday.

Sales, who said she was a schoolteacher in Guatemala before moving to Baltimore three years ago, worked as a housekeeper at a local hotel and is now working part time cleaning offices. She and her baby are living in a single rented room that is also serving as temporary lodging for her husband's parents, she said.

Thompson tearfully told detectives in taped interviews that, after running from the gas station and tossing away the knife, he had prayed for the man he had stabbed. Police, acting on tips from two people, arrested Thompson and raided his home in West Edmondale, seizing the clothes he had worn during the incident.

Thompson recounted that he had initially intended merely to sell some compact discs - "I do music," he said - and lunged for Santay-Carrillo's wallet only after he saw it contained a thick wad of cash. Prosecutors said Santay-Carrillo had taken $500 in savings from his home so that he could pay for expenses at the hospital.

Thompson said he was a 10th-grade student in a special education program who had not been arrested before. He said he had received counseling for a marijuana addiction.

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