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By BRAIN SULLAM | June 26, 1994
An old adage best describes the techniques lawyers use to win their cases:"When the facts are in your favor, argue the facts. When the law is in your favor, argue the law. When neither is in your favor, pound the trial table loud and hard."Carroll County State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman is pounding away at the table loud and hard in an effort to explain the recent acquittal of James Van Metre for the gruesome killing of Holly Blake.His letter to the editor published alongside this column attempts to demonstrate that his handling of the case was proper, but it only reinforces the view that Mr. Hickman made a mess of it.The state's attorney's office won a conviction against Van Metre in April 1993.
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NEWS
March 5, 2004
On Wednesday, March 3, 2004, GRACE V.; wife of the late Howard Schofstal and Albert Van Metre; beloved mother of Lynda Witwer and David Van Metre; devoted grandmother of Donna Smith, Penny Kelly, Lisa Cooper, David Van Metre, Jr. and Cabie Van Metre; beloved great-grandmother of Bobby and Joe Kelly, Tara Smith, Hanna, Caroline and Brendon Cooper and Logan Van Metre. Funeral services will be held on Monday, 10 A.M. at the Stallings Funeral Home, P.A., 3111 Mountain Road, Pasadena. Interment private.
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NEWS
July 3, 1994
Let me start by saying that I am proud to have worked for Tom Hickman in the Carroll County state's attorney's office the past 16 years.During my tenure, I have been tempted to write on many occasions due to misstated facts and out-and-out lies made regarding our office. I now feel compelled to write due to theeditorials and comments made recently against Tom Hickman and our office regarding the James Van Metre case.I have been involved personally with the Van Metre case from the beginning.
NEWS
December 16, 1996
THERE IS little excuse when a convicted felon is set free because prosecutors make foolish and avoidable mistakes. Within the past three years, the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office has had two convictions reversed because prosecutors did not try the cases in a timely fashion.In the most recent incident, Ronald Johnson, who had been found guilty by a jury of breaking into the Maxway discount store in Brooklyn Park, was freed because of a prosecutor's inattention to the state's "Hicks Rule."
NEWS
June 26, 1994
In your most recent venomous editorial in regard to the state's attorney's office, concerning the Van Metre case, you continue to either leave out key facts or misstate key facts. You calling someone else incompetent is akin to Saddam Hussein lecturing on warfare at our Army War College. Let me try to set the record straight:Early on a Sunday morning in October 1991, the state police called me at home to alert me to a homicide investigation. Within an hour, I watched James Van Metre describe to Cpl. Doug Wehland the manner in which he strangled Holly Blake, as he stood on the spot where she died.
NEWS
By Joan Jacobson and Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF | August 15, 1996
As a federal judge put James Howard Van Metre III in prison yesterday for the rest of his life, the convicted kidnapper and rapist -- described in court as "rotten to the core" -- showed no emotion and said nothing in his defense.Sitting near Van Metre, Bernard Blake wept as the judge VTC pronounced the maximum sentence of life in prison without parole for kidnapping Blake's former wife, Holly Ann Blake. Van Metre admitted to killing the 28-year-old mother of two, then burning her body on his brother's Maryland farm five years ago.He was found guilty of first-degree murder in Carroll County Circuit Court in 1993, but the verdict was reversed when the state Court of Special Appeals ruled that the yearlong wait between his indictment and trial had violated Van Metre's right to a speedy trial.
NEWS
By Scott Higham and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF | May 23, 1996
It was the kind of courtroom testimony that can devastate a defendant.Wearing a blue-flowered dress trimmed with white lace, a petite, deeply religious woman described for jurors in federal court yesterday how James Howard Van Metre III kidnapped her, held a hunting knife against her throat and raped her in a remote field.A Mennonite from Pennsylvania, the woman said she stared at the treetops while Van Metre raped her on the ground next to his car. She said she asked God to forgive her attacker.
NEWS
By Scott Higham and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF | May 29, 1996
Jurors in the kidnapping trial of James Howard Van Metre III deliberated for nearly 2 1/2 hours without reaching a verdict yesterday. They were scheduled to return to U.S. District Court in Baltimore this morning.Van Metre, 38, is charged with kidnapping Holly Ann Blake, 28, from a Gettysburg, Pa., truck stop Sept. 26, 1991, taking her to a farm his brother rented in Harney, Md., strangling her to death and then disposing her body in a bonfire.A Carroll County jury convicted him of murder, but an appeals court overturned the conviction.
NEWS
By SCOTT HIGHAM and SCOTT HIGHAM,SUN STAFF | June 2, 1996
For federal prosecutors, it was the trickiest kind of criminal case.Old evidence. An overturned conviction. Fading memories. And worst of all, the burden of proving what was going on inside the troubled mind of James Van Metre III when he picked up a young mother on a sunny fall day five years ago and slaughtered her a few hours later.But with some old-fashioned detective work and careful courtroom planning, the prosecutors were able to provide jurors with an unflinching look at the world of a confessed rapist and murderer.
NEWS
By Scott Higham and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF | May 30, 1996
Two years after James Howard Van Metre III escaped a conviction for murdering a young mother and burning her body in a bonfire, federal prosecutors salvaged the case yesterday by jTC winning a key kidnapping conviction from jurors in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.After a week of hearing chilling testimony in a case that first was bungled by prosecutors, the eight women and four men took about four hours to return their verdict, which could keep Van Metre behind bars for the rest of his life.
NEWS
By Fred Rasmussen and Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF | October 9, 1996
Dr. Thomas E. Van Metre Jr., an internationally known allergist and researcher whose life's work brought relief to many thousands who suffer from asthma and allergies, died yesterday of lymphoma at his Ruxton residence. He was 73.Despite the demands of a busy private practice, Dr. Van Metre was a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and conducted rigorous clinical research until illness forced him to retire earlier this year."He was a man of boundless energy and truly one of the great Hopkins physicians of our time," said Dr. Victor McKusick, a world-famous Hopkins geneticist.
NEWS
By Joan Jacobson and Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF | August 15, 1996
As a federal judge put James Howard Van Metre III in prison yesterday for the rest of his life, the convicted kidnapper and rapist -- described in court as "rotten to the core" -- showed no emotion and said nothing in his defense.Sitting near Van Metre, Bernard Blake wept as the judge VTC pronounced the maximum sentence of life in prison without parole for kidnapping Blake's former wife, Holly Ann Blake. Van Metre admitted to killing the 28-year-old mother of two, then burning her body on his brother's Maryland farm five years ago.He was found guilty of first-degree murder in Carroll County Circuit Court in 1993, but the verdict was reversed when the state Court of Special Appeals ruled that the yearlong wait between his indictment and trial had violated Van Metre's right to a speedy trial.
NEWS
By SCOTT HIGHAM and SCOTT HIGHAM,SUN STAFF | June 2, 1996
For federal prosecutors, it was the trickiest kind of criminal case.Old evidence. An overturned conviction. Fading memories. And worst of all, the burden of proving what was going on inside the troubled mind of James Van Metre III when he picked up a young mother on a sunny fall day five years ago and slaughtered her a few hours later.But with some old-fashioned detective work and careful courtroom planning, the prosecutors were able to provide jurors with an unflinching look at the world of a confessed rapist and murderer.
NEWS
By Scott Higham and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF | May 30, 1996
Two years after James Howard Van Metre III escaped a conviction for murdering a young mother and burning her body in a bonfire, federal prosecutors salvaged the case yesterday by jTC winning a key kidnapping conviction from jurors in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.After a week of hearing chilling testimony in a case that first was bungled by prosecutors, the eight women and four men took about four hours to return their verdict, which could keep Van Metre behind bars for the rest of his life.
NEWS
By Scott Higham and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF | May 29, 1996
Jurors in the kidnapping trial of James Howard Van Metre III deliberated for nearly 2 1/2 hours without reaching a verdict yesterday. They were scheduled to return to U.S. District Court in Baltimore this morning.Van Metre, 38, is charged with kidnapping Holly Ann Blake, 28, from a Gettysburg, Pa., truck stop Sept. 26, 1991, taking her to a farm his brother rented in Harney, Md., strangling her to death and then disposing her body in a bonfire.A Carroll County jury convicted him of murder, but an appeals court overturned the conviction.
NEWS
By Peter A. Jay | May 26, 1996
HAVRE de GRACE -- Why do so many people think the American judicial response to the most vicious and predatory crimes is totally out of whack? The recent case of James Howard Van Metre III is a pretty good example.It is not in dispute that this gentleman raped and murdered a woman in Carroll County three years ago. But because it took more than 180 days to bring him to trial, his conviction was voided, and he cannot be retried. As a practical matter he'll be in prison a good while for other offenses, but for his murder the state of Maryland has awarded him a free pass.
NEWS
By Fred Rasmussen and Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF | October 9, 1996
Dr. Thomas E. Van Metre Jr., an internationally known allergist and researcher whose life's work brought relief to many thousands who suffer from asthma and allergies, died yesterday of lymphoma at his Ruxton residence. He was 73.Despite the demands of a busy private practice, Dr. Van Metre was a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and conducted rigorous clinical research until illness forced him to retire earlier this year."He was a man of boundless energy and truly one of the great Hopkins physicians of our time," said Dr. Victor McKusick, a world-famous Hopkins geneticist.
NEWS
By Maria Archangelo and Maria Archangelo,Staff writer | December 8, 1991
A 34-year-old tree trimmer was indicted by a Carroll grand jury Thursday in the Taneytown slaying of a Gettysburg, Pa., woman.James Howard Van Metre formerly of East Berlin, Pa., was indicted on chargesof first- and second-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, manslaughter and battery in the death of Holly Haynes Blake.State police began investigating Van Metre in connection with Blake's disappearance when ashes and suspected human bone fragments werefound on a farm in the 4700 block of Baptist Road in Taneytown.
NEWS
By Scott Higham and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF | May 23, 1996
It was the kind of courtroom testimony that can devastate a defendant.Wearing a blue-flowered dress trimmed with white lace, a petite, deeply religious woman described for jurors in federal court yesterday how James Howard Van Metre III kidnapped her, held a hunting knife against her throat and raped her in a remote field.A Mennonite from Pennsylvania, the woman said she stared at the treetops while Van Metre raped her on the ground next to his car. She said she asked God to forgive her attacker.
NEWS
By Scott Higham and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF | May 22, 1996
It's no secret that James Howard Van Metre III has done some terrible things in his life, his defense attorney told jurors yesterday in his client's federal kidnapping trial.It's true that Van Metre, 38, strangled Holly Ann Blake, 28, for ridiculing his sexual prowess, the attorney said. It's true that he burned her body to cover up the crime. It's true that he confessed to investigators.But there's one crime Van Metre didn't commit, his attorney said: kidnapping."This was nothing more than an innocent date between two people that went terribly, terribly wrong," Gregg L. Bernstein told jurors in Room 5C of the U.S. District Courthouse in Baltimore.
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