Top Md. court upholds conviction in murder of bystander outside her Middle River home

The state's highest court has upheld the murder and related convictions of a Dundalk man who police said was involved in a 2009 drug deal gone awry and fatally shot a bystander as she was speaking with relatives who had returned from church.

In a decision issued Tuesday, a unanimous Court of Appeals rejected all of Warren Jerome Yates' claims, including that Baltimore County prosecutors lacked evidence to prove he committed a second-degree felony murder. Yates was convicted in 2009 of that, along with weapons, drug and assault charges, and sentenced to a total of 75 years in prison.

The case revolved around a Jan. 7, 2009 drug deal that police said soured. Prosecutors contended that Yates chased the buyer after realizing that the $4,400 in cash the man paid for a four-pound trash bag of marijuana was a roll of fake money wrapped in a real $100 bill. As the man ran with the bag, Yates took off after him, firing as the man darted across the lawn of 58-year-old Shirley Worcester, who was standing in the driveway of her Middle River home, prosecutors maintained. She was shot and killed.

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