Man accused of murdering wife wants his statements barred from trial

Damon Willie White's defense

March 04, 2011|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

Statements to police by a man accused of killing his ex-wife and setting her Columbia apartment on fire can be used against him at trial, a Howard County judge ruled Friday.

"I had no motive to hurt anyone, so I'm really trying to figure out what really happened," Damon Willie White told officers during a roughly 20-minute recorded interview played for Judge Richard S. Bernhardt.

White, who is charged with stabbing Thelma Shane Wynn to death on Sept. 7, 2010, and setting her apartment on fire as her four children were returning home from school, made the comments Sept. 21. Police interviewed him just a few hours after he was released from Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and stab wounds.

Bernhardt agreed to bar from evidence any comments made after White told officers he wanted a lawyer and wanted to speak with his mother.

Mary Pizzo, White's public defender, wanted Bernhardt to suppress the entire interview, arguing that White was "vulnerable" and that police were "coercive" in taking him right from the hospital to ask him questions.

Prosecutor Ned Curry argued that police treated White fairly, repeatedly told him he did not have to speak to them, gave him water and were "conversational" in tone before ending the session in about 20 minutes.

"Nowhere in that interview was he ever threatened," Curry said. "Nowhere in that interview was he made any promises."

A hearing on other motions is scheduled for April 14 and a two-week trial is now scheduled for mid-August.

Firefighters who rushed to the third-floor fire in Oakland Mills last September found a dead woman and an unconscious man inside the burning three-bedroom unit in the Treover condominiums in the 6700 block of Majors Lane.

Wynn's four children, ages 7 to 17, were arriving home from school at the time. White, then 34, a handyman and construction worker, was charged the next day with stabbing Wynn, 34, to death and setting her apartment on fire.

White was indicted in October. In November, a coalition of several Columbia teen groups held a fundraiser to help the children, who were taken in by the father of the eldest child.

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