Jury Deliberates In Arundel Shooting

Man Who Owed $400 Is Charged With Trying To Kill Dealer's Pregnant Girlfriend

November 06, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

"You have a drug debt. I have a problem. Let's solve this together." That, an Anne Arundel County prosecutor told a jury, is how two Waldorf men made an agreement that would erase one man's $400 drug debt in exchange for shooting the married dealer's pregnant girlfriend.

But the girlfriend survived being shot in the head in her Crofton home, Assistant State's Attorney Anastasia Prigge said in her closing arguments. And Jerold R. Burks, now on trial on attempted murder, conspiracy and related charges, feared the woman, Jodi Torok, might recognize him, Prigge said.

Burks started telling his friends that he messed up, Prigge told jurors. One friend soon told his father, and the story, which included details Prigge said only someone at the shooting scene would know, was spilled to police, Prigge said.

Not so, said Burks' lawyer, Robert D. Cole Jr. He blamed a man who refused to testify in the Oct. 27, 2008, shooting of Torok, who worked as a hairdresser.

"This case involves nothing but the words of Jerold Burks," he said, telling the jury that his 22-year-old client has a reputation for exaggerating and telling tall tales.

Jurors, who began deliberations late Thursday afternoon in the trial that started Tuesday, will return today.

Burks is charged in a scheme to deal with the pregnant girlfriend of Charles Brandon Martin, a 32-year-old Waldorf man who was married and had at least three girlfriends.

Torok was excited about being pregnant, although she testified that she was not entirely sure Martin was the father because she was seeing someone else as well. Martin wanted her to have an abortion, Prigge said, but she refused.

He did not want to pay child support and enlisted Burks to shoot her, Prigge said.

Martin's trial on attempted murder and related charges is to start at the end of November.

After being free on bond for months, Martin was jailed last month to await trial.

Prosecutors alleged that he intimidated another of his girlfriends, pushing her to change her statements that Martin's gun, which she kept in her nightstand, was missing the day Torok was shot and that he told her he had it.

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