By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun
4:17 PM EDT, April 6, 2012
Gregg Bernstein won a murder conviction from a Baltimore jury Friday after prosecuting his second trial as the city's state's attorney, his office announced.
After roughly two days of hearing testimony and three hours of deliberation, a jury found William Carr, 50, guilty of murder, robbery and handgun crimes in connection with the June shooting death of Chong Wan Yim, a 55-year-old delivery man, outside a liquor store at the Erdman Shopping Center in Belair-Edison. Carr faces a maximum of life in prison plus 45 years at his sentencing, set for May 23.
Bernstein's first prosecution ended with mixed results. A city jury convicted two of the three defendants — all Baltimore police officers accused of kidnapping and assault among other crimes — of misconduct in office; a judge acquitted the third.
Assistant State's Attorney Josh Felsen tried Carr's case alongside Bernstein, who took office in January 2011. He campaigned on a promise to prosecute cases himself, despite a tradition of the state's attorney position being largely managerial. He also handled a plea deal last month by a woman who embezzled more than $8,000 from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Bernstein declined through a spokesman to comment Friday.
During closing arguments Thursday, the top prosecutor spoke first. He called Yim's death a tragedy and outlined the evidence, which included Carr's fingerprints on Yim's truck and two eyewitnesses who identified the defendant as the killer. He read frequently from a prepared statement and referred to a PowerPoint presentation that listed the charges against Carr.
Some of those in the gallery, many of them Bernstein's employees, offered support under their breath. "He's very natural," whispered one woman. He appeared comfortable, if rehearsed.
Felsen, by comparison, was passionate, raising his voice and waving his arms in the air. He took umbrage with a claim by defense attorney Maureen Rowland, who spoke after Bernstein, that the case was manufactured.
"This whole thing has been orchestrated by the state's attorney's office," Rowland had said, claiming it was a high-profile prosecution handled by the state's attorney himself. "Do you think all these people are here to watch me?" she asked, gesturing to the gallery.
"Every murder in the city is high-profile," Felsen countered. "Someone is dead."
Bernstein had previously told The Baltimore Sun that this case is personally important to him, but he has declined to elaborate.
Carr is also accused of armed robbery and assault in an unrelated incident that occurred several days before Yim's shooting, at the S&M Market in Northeast Baltimore, court records show. He faces trial on those charges Wednesday.
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