Defendant's fingerprint found in office of slain Glen Burnie dentist, judge hears

The fingerprint of one of two people charged with murder in the death of a dentist in his Glen Burnie office was found in the dentist's storage closet, police and lawyers in court on Friday.

The disclosure came during a defense effort to block from trial the statement that Dante Jeter, 34, gave Anne Arundel County police detectives when they questioned him about the Sept. 26, 2006, slaying of Albert Woonho Ro.

Detective John Gajda testified that he and another investigator asked Jeter on Oct. 9, 2009, why police found his fingerprint on an electric toothbrush box in a closet in Ro's office.

"That's what I want to know," Jeter said, according to a recording of the interview played in court.

He had just told detectives that he hadn't been to that area and did not recognize the Glen Burnie buildings — including Ro's office — in photos they showed him. The interrogation ended when Jeter would not speak to them anymore without his lawyer.

Ro, 51, was found beaten and stabbed in his office in the Chatham Executive Office Park. Ro and his family were widely known in the region's Korean-American community.

Charged with first-degree murder last year, Jeter and his cousin, Shontay Denise Hickman, 36, who worked as Ro's office manager, could be sentenced to life with parole if convicted. Their trial is scheduled for September.

At issue before Judge Pamela L. North is whether Jeter's statement can be used at that trial. She did not rule Friday.

Public defender Stephen Mercer said that a subpoena for Jeter to come before an Anne Arundel County grand jury was "a ruse to get him to Anne Arundel County" from his cell in Baltimore, where he was awaiting trial on another murder charge and where he had a lawyer.

In a separate slaying case, Jeter is scheduled to go on trial Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court. He is charged in the May 4, 2008, death of Tyrone Freeman of the 4800 block of Frankford Ave.

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