Jury convicts Baltimore man in Frederick cabdriver's '09 slaying

April 27, 2011|By Baltimore Sun Staff

A man charged with calling a cab in Frederick and killing the driver when they arrived in Baltimore in January 2009 was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder, according to the city's state's attorney's office.

A jury hearing the case in Baltimore Circuit Court also convicted Robert Lee Murphy, 24, of using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime and robbery with a deadly weapon. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 23 and could receive a maximum term of life plus 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Murphy called all three cab companies located in Frederick, but dispatchers refused to take him to Baltimore because he did not have enough money — $75 to $90 — for the 50-mile trip. Prosecutors said the suspect had $50.

Instead, according to prosecutors, Murphy requested a ride to a convenience store about a mile away. Yellow Cab driver Stephen Mauk, 47, picked up Murphy in a minivan about 12:15 a.m. Jan. 26.

He was found dead four hours later, slumped in the driver's seat of his cab on North Bond Street in Southeast Baltimore, with a gunshot wound to his head. Police arrested and charged Murphy in March 2009. His first trial in July 2010 ended in a mistrial.

Mauk had a wife, three daughters and one grandchild. His brother, Kevin Mauk, said in an interview in 2009 that the victim had been driving a cab at night for a year before he was killed, after he was laid off from his job in operations at United Healthcare.

Police said at the time of the arrest that detectives believed Murphy to be a member of the "L Gang," a subset of the Bloods gang. He has prior convictions related to drug dealing and illegal handgun possession.

Authorities said that over a 10-day span in 2009, Murphy went on a crime spree that included killing Mauk, stealing a gun in Howard County and carjacking a man in Frederick. Howard County prosecutors dropped the gun charges and the carjacking case is still pending.

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