Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Wesley Baker, a 34-year-old East Baltimore man accused of robbing and murdering a teacher's aide in front of her grandchildren on a Westview Mall parking lot.
In opening remarks at Mr. Baker's trial yesterday, State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor told a Harford Circuit Court jury of the state's intention to seek the death penalty. Mr. Baker is accused of fatally shooting 49-year-old Jane Tyson on June 6, 1991.
Mrs. Tyson had gone to the mall with her 6-year-old grandson and 4-year-old granddaughter to buy a pair of shoes. She was fatally shot during a robbery that netted $10.
In January, Gregory Lawrence, 35, of Woodlawn, received a life sentence plus 33 years after being convicted of murder, robbery and handgun charges for being the lookout and getaway car driver in the robbery and slaying of Mrs. Tyson.
The state's principal witness yesterday, Scott Faust, 32, of Catonsville, said he had gone to the mall parking lot behind the Value City department store to park near his father's house for a visit.
Two men jumped into a blue Chevrolet Blazer there and sped off, Mr. Faust said.
He described the driver as a large man wearing an orange shirt. That man later was identified as Mr. Lawrence.
Mr. Faust said the man who jumped into the passenger seat wore a dark T-shirt. Mr. Faust said he did not get a good look at the man's face at that time, but did see that both men had come from the area near a red Buick parked beyond the Blazer.
In seconds, Mr. Faust testified, as the two men sped away in the Blazer, he saw somebody lying next to the red car. He said he saw a bloody wound and a little girl screaming, "Mom, Mom's been shot!"
Mr. Faust said he chased the Blazer through neighborhood streets and wrote down its Maryland license tag number on a Kleenex box in his car. After he got a good look at both the driver and passenger, he returned to the mall to alert police, he said.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Roger Galvin, Mr. Faust said he did not immediately recognize Mr. Baker later that evening at the police station.
Mr. Faust said he recognized Mr. Baker after police had the suspect don a baseball hat, similar to the one he had seen the passenger in the Blazer wearing.