Second sister to face 8-10 year prison sentence in Laurel murder

Woman enters Alford pleas after judge throws out confession

February 08, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

After Anne Arundel County prosecutors threatened to appeal a judge's ruling that threw out her confession in a fatal stabbing, a Laurel woman entered into a plea Tuesday that will send her to prison for between eight and 10 years.

Latisha Montia Adams, 23, entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder in the killing Dec. 21, 2009, of Jamal Medina, 22. That is identical to the plea her sister, Patrice Dove, made last month in the killing of Medina, who prosecutors said owed Dove money for drugs. Dove was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Adams is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 25.

The plea, a compromise that lets Adams maintain her innocence but acknowledge that prosecutors have evidence that could convict her, came less than an hour after Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge William C. Mulford II's ruling to throw out her confession.

Mulford said that following a January opinion by the Maryland Court of Appeals in a similar Baltimore County case, Adams' statements — made after a county detective said that "anything you tell us in this room stays in this room" — were off-limits. But if Adams testified at a trial, prosecutors could use her statement against her.

Assistant Public Defender Michael Morrissette said that given the circumstances, Adams accepted the plea offer. Assistant State's Attorney Brian Marsh said the loss of the confession hurt his first-degree murder case, and the outcome of an appeal was uncertain.

Prosecutors said Medina had arranged to meet Dove to buy drugs, and Adams didn't want her sister going alone. Security cameras at the Maryland City Plaza Shopping Center in Laurel captured the women chasing Medina, and, minutes later, only the sisters running back. Prosecutors think that Adams stabbed him in the heart. Drugs were found on him, and his cell phone and a knife were found in a room the sisters shared.

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