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By Yvonne Wenger and Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | July 11, 2013
On the night in 1975 that Merle W. Unger Jr. killed Hagerstown police officer Donald Kline, a black cat named Midnight gave away his hiding spot in a local basement. It was one of many attempts Unger would make to elude police and life in prison. On other occasions, according to court documents, he commandeered a dump truck to break out of prison and hacked through a fence with wire cutters before leading police on a high-speed chase. An account recorded by his hometown historical society claims he even broke out of jail to play bingo - and then broke back in. Unger's most productive attempt at freedom came through an appeal in Maryland's courts.
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NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | July 8, 2013
Few of the officers assigned to Baltimore County's Woodlawn Precinct ever met Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero, but they all know his story. Every day, they pass pictures of the officer and his family as they walk through the station's halls. One image shows his daughter, Holly, wearing his cap and seated at his desk the day his wife came to clean it out for the last time. Prothero died 13 years ago, shot three times responding to a jewelry store robbery while working a second job as a security guard.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | June 18, 2013
Wesley Moore, one of four men convicted in the 2000 death of Baltimore County police Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero, was denied new trial Tuesday. Moore, who is now 37, appeared in Baltimore County Circuit Court in a post-conviction relief hearing, asking for a new trial. Moore was 25 when he was convicted of felony murder in 2001 in Prothero's death, along with three other men. Prothero was shot three times Feb. 7, 2000, during an attempted robbery at the J. Brown Jewelers on Reisterstown Road during, where he was working a second job as a security guard.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | June 11, 2013
The second trial for a Baltimore City police officer accused of illegally taping a conversation with a judge has been postponed until August. Prosecutors say Sgt. Carlos M. Vila, 46, violated Maryland's wiretap laws when he recorded a conversation between himself and District Court Judge Joan B. Gordon as they sparred over the urgency of a warrant application in a shooting investigation. But Vila's attorney, Catherine Flynn, argued that he only intended to record himself and captured the judge's voice by accident.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | May 28, 2013
As three generations of his family watched, a man once described by police as an "engine for violent crime" won praise for his parenting from a Baltimore judge even as she sentenced him for his part in a shooting that left one of his friends dead. Judge Wanda K. Heard invited Stanley Brunson, 36, to tell his 16-year-old son to stay away from the life of the streets that had landed him before her Tuesday. Brunson turned and mumbled a warning to the teenager. "That's your father talking to you," Heard said.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2013
A Baltimore judge threw out the murder conviction of a man who was to be sentenced Wednesday in the killing of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, saying prosecutors withheld information about a key witness from defense attorneys. The second-degree murder conviction of Michael Maurice Johnson, 29, last month had appeared to close the case of the North Carolina girl who disappeared while visiting family in Baltimore in 2010. But Circuit Judge Alfred Nance's ruling will give Johnson another chance to plead his innocence.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | March 5, 2013
Lawyers for the man convicted of killing Phylicia Barnes are again seeking to undermine the credibility of a small-time criminal who provided key state testimony in his trial, citing a letter from Montgomery County prosecutors detailing James McCray's removal as a witness in a separate murder case. The information, sent to Baltimore prosecutors on the day after Michael Maurice Johnson was found guilty of killing the visiting North Carolina teen, contains statements that the defense says shows McCray - whom they described at trial as a "jailhouse snitch" - is not reliable.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2013
A Baltimore Circuit Court judge has denied a new trial for Thomas Lee Meighan Jr., the man convicted of hitting and killing a Johns Hopkins University student in 2009, according to online records. Meighan, 42, pleaded guilty to hitting 20-year-old Miriam Frankl of Wilmette, Ill., as she crossed St. Paul Street. He later requested a new trial on the grounds that he did not know about some evidence that he said suggested she was at fault in the incident. It was not immediately clear why the judge, Michael W. Reed, denied the motion and neither Meighan's attorney or prosecutors could not be reached for comment.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | February 19, 2013
Attorneys for the man convicted of killing 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes have asked a judge for a new trial, arguing that prosecutors made improper statements to the jury and withheld information. Michael Maurice Johnson was convicted this month of second-degree murder in the death of Barnes, a North Carolina high school student, who was visiting relatives in Baltimore when she disappeared in December 2010. Most of the arguments made by Johnson's attorneys center on a crucial witness named James McCray, who testified that Johnson contacted him for help in disposing of Barnes' body.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | February 15, 2013
Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney has denied former Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold's request for a new trial, saying the appeal was "without merit. " Leopold, 70, was convicted last month of misconduct in office. Sweeney, who presided over the trial, said Leopold broke the law when he ordered his taxpayer-funded police security detail to put up campaign signs, collect contributions and compile dossiers on perceived adversaries during his 2010 re-election campaign, and when he required county workers to drain the urinary catheter bag he used after back surgery.
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