Lawyers set the stage for trial of officer charged with murder


Jealousy and a fear that the results of a paternity test would ruin his life led a Baltimore police sergeant to murder his ex-girlfriend and dump her body in Gunpowder State Park, a Baltimore County prosecutor told a Circuit Court jury yesterday.

But the attorney for Sgt. James A. Kulbicki dismissed those motives and said he would provide a minute-by-minute alibi for the day of Jan. 9, when 22-year-old Gina Nueslein was shot in the head at point-blank range.

Sergeant Kulbicki, 37, of the 3400 block of Toone St., went on trial yesterday on charges of first-degree murder and use of a handgun in the death of Ms. Nueslein, who lived with her family and her son Michael, now 2 years old, in the 3300 block of Ramona Ave. in Baltimore.

In her opening statement, Deputy State's Attorney Sue Schenning told the jury that Sergeant Kulbicki met the victim at a convenience store where she worked while he was assigned to the Northeastern District. Ms. Nueslein became pregnant in early 1991.

Ms. Nueslein said the child was Sergeant Kulbicki's and sued for child support. Two paternity tests showed he was the father.

The second test came back positive on Dec. 17, 1992. "And that's when the clock began to toll for the time Gina Nueslein had left on this earth," Ms. Schenning said.

Faced with an order to appear at a child support hearing with a check on Jan. 13, Sergeant Kulbicki picked Ms. Nueslein up as she was on her way to work Jan. 9, fired a bullet into her head, then dumped her body in the park, the prosecutor said.

Jealousy also played a part in the motive, the prosecutor said, because the sergeant was still visiting Ms. Nueslein in early January even though she was dating a younger, single police officer.

As for physical evidence, the prosecutor said police found Ms. Nueslein's blood in Sergeant Kulbicki's truck and on a jacket in a closet of his Highlandtown home.

Bullet fragments from the body matched fragments in the truck, where investigators also discovered a skull fragment, she said.

The truck "reeked of cleaning fluid" that was still wet, the prosecutor said, but the blood had seeped and soaked into unreachable areas.

In Sergeant Kulbicki's defense, his attorney Henry L. Belsky blasted the handling of the case, saying county police fixed immediately upon his client. He charged that police failed to pursue other evidence.

"If anything, he [Sergeant Kulbicki] knew as an experienced city police officer that if anything happened to Gina Nueslein, he would be the primary suspect," Mr. Belsky said. He told the jury the sergeant had made peace with his wife for his adultery, and after receiving the Dec. 17 test results, was prepared to support the boy.

"Killing her wouldn't change [his obligation], because he'd still have to make payments for that child," the defense lawyer said.

He also said the victim was not the naive girl portrayed by the prosecutor, telling the jury "she was streetwise."

And, he told the jurors, "We're going to tell you every minute of every day from the 9th and into the 11th . . . where my client was."

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