One day after Vitalis V. Pilius was last seen alive, Dontay Carter told a friend that he had abducted and beat a man and dumped the body in a basement, according to testimony yesterday in the East Baltimore teen-ager's murder trial.
The friend, a 16-year-old boy, said Carter made the claim Feb. 12 in a room at the Marriott Inner Harbor hotel. "He said they took the man, took the body around Mura and Chester, and he forced the man in an old house and he hit the man over the head with a pipe. The man fell and he got back up and rushed Dontay and he was fighting him," the boy testified.
"He hit him over the head with a pipe again and he fell, and that's when they put the body in the basement," the young witness said.
Mr. Pilius' body was found two days later in the basement of a burned-out rowhouse at 2035 Mura St. An autopsy determined that the 37-year-old Catonsville man had been beaten to death.
Carter said 17-year-old Clarence Woodward, who is also charged inMr. Pilius' death, was present for the abduction of a "big" white man in the parking garage at the Harbor Park Cinema and the subsequent beating, the boy testified.
The name of the boy, who police say is being held in a juvenile facility, is being withheld in an effort to protect him from possible reprisals for his testimony. Before testifying on the fourth day of Carter's murder trial in Baltimore Circuit Court, the boy waived his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
The boy said he had been arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to murder in the Pilius slaying, but was released before being formally charged.
He said he saw Carter driving a gray station wagon -- Mr. Pilius' company car was a gray Mercury Sable wagon -- on Feb. 11 at the intersection of Patterson Park Avenue and Chase Street.
He said Carter, a friend for 10 years, asked him his shoe and clothing sizes and returned later to give him a new warm-up suit.
An earlier witness testified that Carter used a credit card in Mr. Pilius' name to buy more than $800 in warm-up suits and other items on Feb. 11, the day Mr. Pilius disappeared.
The 16-year-old boy is scheduled to return to the witness stand when the trial resumes Monday.