Balto. Co. man found guilty of 2009 Owings Mills killing

A Baltimore County man was found guilty by a Circuit Court jury Friday of fatally shooting a man found in an Owings Mills home in 2009, a state prosecutor said.

Gerald E. Sears, 31, who was living in Owings Mills at the time of the killing, was convicted of first-degree murder, dealing cocaine and a handgun charge in the death of Scott M. Greenberg, 51, a father of two who ran a snowball stand on Reisterstown Road. He could be sentenced to life in prison without parole, said, Assistant State's Attorney Adam Lippe. Sears was acquitted of robbery, felony murder and another handgun charge.

The jury returned with its decision Friday afternoon after about five hours of deliberation that began on Thursday afternoon. The panel had heard a week of testimony from 18 state's witnesses and none for the defense. Lippe said he would ask for life without parole on the murder charge and 20 years — the maximum penalty — for each of the other two convictions at sentencing, now scheduled for Aug. 10.

Prosecutors argued that Sears went to Greenberg's parents' home, where he was living, on August 22, 2009 to sell him crack cocaine, got angry because Greenberg didn't pay, shot him six times in the head and neck with a .22 caliber revolver and made off with the victim's cellphone, wallet and bank card. The weapon and Greenberg's belongings were never found.

The state built its case largely on cellphone records that not only showed many calls between the two men, but also allowed police to track Sears' movements as he left the house, as cellphone calls were relayed from one transmission tower to another.

Sears' lawyers acknowledged that Sears was with Greenberg briefly that afternoon, but argued that the state had no physical evidence to connect him with the killing. They offered photographs of a damaged back door to suggest that someone else might have broken into the house after Sears left.

"The cellphone put [Sears] there," Lippe said in an interview Friday. "No one ever saw the victim again after the defendant was there."

One of Sears' lawyers, Harun Shabazz of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, declined to comment on the verdict but did say the defense would appeal.

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