A Harford County Circuit Court jury Wednesday found Terrence Daryell Wanzer, 22, guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Thomas Burdsall Jr., 16, on Jan. 8, 2011 at the victim's home on Edmund Street in Aberdeen.
The jury deliberated about an hour before reaching its verdict, Harford County State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly said in a news release announcing the conviction.
According to evidence presented by Deputy State's Attorney Diana Brooks in the three-day trial, Wanzer, of the first block of Aberdeen Avenue, who was 20 at the time, had been at the victim's residence along with three other young people, playing video games and socializing.
The victim and Wanzer argued, resulting in Wanzer stabbing the unarmed teenager in the heart with a knife, police said.
Mr. Burdsall was pronounced dead at Harford Memorial Hospital after efforts to revive him failed. Wanzer presented an alibi defense at trial which the jury rejected, according to the state's attorney's news release.
Sentencing has been scheduled before Judge Angela Eaves on Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. Wanzer could be sentenced to life in prison, according to the state's attorney's release.
The case was investigated by Det. Donald Licato of the Aberdeen Police Department.
Victim remembered as kind, respectful
Mr. Burdsall was known as "T.J." to his friends, who described him as kind and respectful in their online funeral home guest book posts at the time of the young man's death.
He attended Aberdeen High School and, before then, Havre de Grace High School.
"I will always remember how he brought his pet snake one day and let me hold it! He chatted to me about it and was very knowledgeable," friend Jan Biondo posted. "He was a very respectful boy to me."
Brenda Seekford, of Colora in Cecil County, asked family members to remember their "handsome, kind and generous" son. "I will always remember his kind smile and zest for life," she wrote.
Charlie O'Dell, of West Virginia, wrote that Mr. Burdsall was a really good kid who showed the utmost respect to everyone.
Shortly after his arrest in 2011, Wanzer's father said his son had lived a troubled life.
Leonard Wanzer spoke in his son's defense during his initial bail review hearing in District Court, explaining his son had been in a state drug and alcohol program.
"He is trying to get himself together," Leonard Wanzer said at the time, according to an Aegis report of the proceeding. "It is not in his nature to do what he is accused of."
Terrence Wanzer had attended school through 10th grade and had been trying to get a high school equivalent diploma, a member of the public defender's office said during the bail hearing.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun