A Baltimore man serving a 60-year murder sentence now faces life without parole in an unrelated homicide in Glen Burnie, after he was convicted Monday of the first-degree murder of Dr. Albert Woonho Ro.
Dante Jeter, 25, is scheduled to be sentenced July 24 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court for his role in the fatal beating, stabbing and robbery on Sept. 26, 2006, of Ro, 51, a dentist well-known in the area's Korean-American community.
Prosecutor Anne Colt Leitess said she intends to seek life without parole for the murder, plus another life sentence for Jeter's conviction of conspiring with his cousin, Shontay Joyner Hickman, 37, also of Baltimore, and possibly additional time for a robbery conviction.
Crucial testimony during the trial came from Hickman. She testified last week that she arranged the fatal beating to cover up her embezzlement of more than $17,000 from Ro's business in the Chatham Executive Office Park, where she did office work. A partial fingerprint from Jeter was found on a toothbrush box in a supply closet, and cellphone records also linked him to the crime.
In a plea agreement that called for her cooperation and testimony against Jeter, Hickman may see the life sentence for her guilty plea to first-degree murder reduced to 40 years in prison. On the day of the crime, Hickman had left the office early and was seen returning there about 5 p.m. with three men, according to prosecutors.
No one else has been charged, and Hickman's agreement calls for cutting another decade off her sentence if she leads police to the other two men. James Ro, one of the slain dentist's two sons, pleaded outside the courtroom for anyone with information to "please do the right thing to help bring justice for our father and our family."
Ro was found beaten beyond recognition in a supply room in his dental office; he also had been stabbed dozens of times. When he didn't come home by 7 p.m. as expected or respond to his wife's increasingly frantic telephone messages, the family called police. His main office was in Lutherville, and the Glen Burnie office was a satellite site.
Jeter had previously been convicted of first-degree murder in the May 2008 killing of Tyrone Freeman. Baltimore prosecutors said that killing was over a $150 drug debt.