Defense attorneys for two people charged with the abduction and attempted murder of a Baltimore businessman claim the arrests were illegal because state police detectives failed to follow proper procedures.
In two and a half days of pre-trial hearings last week before a Carroll Circuit judge, the defense maintained that the arrests and search warrants in the case should be declared invalid and evidence seized from the suspects should be suppressed at trial.
"Everything is the product of an unlawful arrest and detention," said assistant public defender Judson K. Larrimore, who represents defendant Karen Sue Palido.
Prosecutors argued that as events unfolded at the arrest scene, police developed sufficient probable cause to arrest the two suspects.
Ms. Palido, 32, of the 6600 block of Washington Blvd. in Elkridge and David Teddy Yoswick, 24, of the first block of Leatherwood Place near Overlea, were charged in February with attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery of Frank Allen Storch.
Mr. Storch is a private detective and real estate management company president. While he was recovering from stab wounds and other injuries at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, he was visited by Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who called him "a good friend."
Mr. Storch, who had been beaten and stabbed, was found walking along Arrington Road in Sykesville on Feb. 26. He told police that a couple abducted him from a Jessup hotel parking lot.
The defense's suppression arguments focused on the suspects' arrests outside Ms. Palido's trailer home.
Police lacked sufficient probable cause to arrest both suspects, defense attorneys argued.
Officers set up a surveillance of Ms. Palido's trailer after tracing a call made from the Jessup Holiday Inn to the trailer home. Eight or nine state police officers surrounded the trailer when Ms. Palido and Mr. Yoswick left the trailer and got in a van out front.
Police found a handgun in Ms. Palido's purse and Mr. Storch's semiautomatic pistol in her pants, police testified at the hearing.
The defense maintained that Mr. Yoswick didn't resemble a composite drawing of the abductor and that Mr. Storch's description of his captors was too broad to identify individuals for arrest.
Defense lawyers also claimed that police improperly searched Ms. Palido's purse and didn't tell the victims they were under arrest.
Thus, the defense argued, the items seized from the suspects as a result of the arrest and search warrants -- two guns, ammunition, cash and bank receipts that investigators connected to Mr. Storch -- should not be admitted as trial evidence.
"This arrest is predicated solely on the finding of the weapon, for which there is no probable cause to search the purse," Mr. Larrimore said.
According to hearing testimony, police went to the trailer based on the phone call traced from the Jessup hotel. But when they observed a couple matching Mr. Storch's description, as well as a van and car that the victim had mentioned, the investigation took a different turn, said Assistant State's Attorney Christy McFaul.
"This is an attempted murder, this is a stabbing. We're not dealing with two shoplifters," Ms. McFaul said. "We're dealing with two people capable of murder."
The defense also challenged the procedures police used to identify Ms. Palido in a lineup, and a statement Mr. Yoswick made to a state police trooper at the Carroll County Detention Center.
While in jail, Mr. Yoswick asked the trooper, "How's the guy doing?" referring to Mr. Storch, Ms. McFaul said.
Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns, Jr. said he will rule on the motions tomorrow.
Ms. Palido's trial is to begin Aug. 31. Mr. Yoswick's trial is scheduled Sept. 28.