A 29 year-old Essex resident has been accused of shooting and killing a Towson gas station owner in a murder-for-hire scheme. He is one of six people implicated in this killing, including the gas station owner’s wife as well as her brother, sister, and nephew, according to the Baltimore Sun. Court documents state that the wife promised the Essex resident more than $9,000 for the killing of her husband. The case is due in court this week, and as prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in this murder case, it will likely be the first death penalty trial under Maryland’s revamped death penalty law.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the new state statute, which went into effect 2 years ago, says that the death penalty may only be sought in cases where there is “DNA or other biological evidence, a video-taped confession, or a video recording that conclusively links the defendant to the murder”. In the case of the Essex resident, prosecutors have a videotaped recording of the defendant, taken at the Baltimore County police Headquarters on March 6, 2010, ultimately confessing to the crime of killing the gas station owner at a Maryland Hess Station five days earlier on the morning of March 1. However, in an attempt to not get the death penalty in this murder case, the defendant’s attorneys state that he was never told he was being videotaped and what consequences he may face because the confession was on tape. Essentially, the man’s video confession makes him eligible for the death penalty under the revised statute.
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First Case to be Tried Under Revised Maryland Death Penalty Law