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Confession gives details in slaying of businessman Affidavit filed in federal court


A Cockeysville man suspected in the murder of Baltimore businessman J. Schuyler "Sky" Alland, has confessed his role in the killing and disclosed details to investigators, according to an affidavit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Robert Patrick Gray, 25, of the unit block of Vintage Court said he helped abduct Mr. Alland at gunpoint from the Laurel parking lot of Sky Alland Research Inc. on Feb. 18, 1992, according to an affidavit filed by U.S. Park Police.

Mr. Gray and an accomplice, John G. Bridges, 29, of Norfolk, Va., took Mr. Alland to a spot on the grounds of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, where Mr. Bridges forced the business executive from the car and shot him, the document said.

The apparent motive was the theft of Mr. Alland's $80,000 BMW 750iL, police said. Mr. Gray, an employee at Hollin's Organic Products in Towson, was charged yesterday with first-degree murder and held without bail.

A detention hearing was set for Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul M. Rosenberg. Mr. Bridges, who worked briefly in 1989 as a telemarketer for Sky Alland Research, was arrested in April and charged with first-degree murder.

Mr. Gray became a suspect after police tracked telephone calls between a Florida home where Mr. Bridges was known to be staying after the killing and an apartment in Cockeysville where Mr. Gray lived at the time.

Residents of the Cockeysville apartment told investigators that Mr. Gray possessed a handgun at the time of the killing and that he had asked for help transporting stolen cars to Florida, said the affidavit, filed by Sgt. Peter W. Markland.

A search of Mr. Gray's apartment Thursday produced a .357-caliber Magnum revolver with four bullets of the type used in the killing, according to the affidavit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Semel said that ballistics tests were being performed on DTC the gun. He said the gun was not registered to Mr. Gray.

According to the affidavit: Mr. Gray told investigators that he and Mr. Bridges had watched the BMW numerous times before the abduction, watching from a parking lot behind the Sky Alland Research building at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.

On the night of the slaying, the two sat in a parked car and looked on as Mr. Alland, 34, of Homeland, left his office and approached his BMW. Mr. Gray pulled up alongside the car and Mr. Bridges jumped out and forced the executive into the back seat of the BMW, according to the affidavit. Mr. Gray then climbed behind the wheel of the BMW and drove to a spot along Powdermill Road near Route 197, according to the affidavit.

Mr. Gray told investigators that he sat in the car as the two men got out, then watched Mr. Bridges shoot the victim once in the back of the head.

Mr. Alland's body was discovered at the site two hours later. His car, credit cards and briefcase were missing.

Police said that Mr. Bridges showed up in Florida the next day and tried to sell the car, but was told he wouldn't be able to because of missing registration or title papers. The car later was driven to New Jersey. A potential buyer there asked a friend, a police officer, to run a computer check on the vehicle and learned it was stolen, authorities said.

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