Annapolis man pleads guilty to two killings

March 04, 2010|By Andrea F. Siegel

An Annapolis man who told police that he "just snapped" when he heard his former girlfriend and her boyfriend in bed in a room above him pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of first-degree murder in their fatal shootings.

When Elbert Gardner Jr. returns to court March 19, Deputy Anne Arundel County State's Attorney William D. Roessler expects to seek two consecutive life sentences for the killings last June of Lei Tyree Johnson, 38, and Samuel Marshall Fowlkes, 49. The defense will ask that the sentences be served together with some years suspended, said public defender Katy C. O'Donnell.

Gardner initially told Annapolis police he had nothing to with the deaths of Johnson, his former girlfriend who remained living in the house Gardner rented, and Fowlkes, 49, her boyfriend. After police told him he flunked a lie-detector test, Roessler said, Gardner admitted to shooting the couple.

Gardner told police he was in his basement room when he heard, through an air vent, what he believed was sexual activity in Johnson's bedroom.

Gardner, who was holding three jobs at the time, had left his wife of 35 years for Johnson in 2008, O'Donnell said. He rented a house in Admiral Heights and moved Johnson and her 12-year-old son, Anthony, in with him.

But the relationship soured. Gardner moved into the basement while Johnson and her son remained upstairs.

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