Letter raises questions in killings of bail bondsman, his 3-year-old son Trial in slaying to begin today

A letter made public yesterday raises once again the question of whether the killings of bail bondsman Angelo Garrison Sr. and his 3-year-old son were part of a drug-related conspiracy.

The letter, purportedly written by the man who today begins standing trial for murder in the double slaying, includes passages that could be interpreted to be the complaints of a man frustrated that he is being abandoned by conspirators.


"Now tell me, is it, was it or will it ever be worth it [?]" says the letter, which authorities said was recovered during the arrest of a murder suspect. "I know you are capable of paying for my attorney but you say [expletive]. Think about what you are doing before you do it.

"Take that money you got . . . [and] go get me a attorney."


Prosecutors said yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court that the letter was written by Levon Stokes, a 20-year-old Northeast Baltimore man who could face two possible life-without-parole sentences if convicted of slaying the bail bondsman and his son. The letter was postmarked Sept. 7 and addressed to "Tony M."

Garrison, 23, and his son, Angelo Garrison Jr., were ambushed April 8 outside Garrison's bail bond business in the 300 block of Park Ave. in downtown Baltimore. The elder Garrison was shot twice in the head and the boy was shot once in the head, but authorities have been unable to say whether the boy was intentionally shot.

Initial reports after the shooting described Garrison's work for needy and homeless people and noted that police could not identify a motive.

The Sun later reported that Garrison was on probation for a 1990 felony drug conviction and was awaiting trial on drug distribution charges when he was slain.

Also, the drug activity laid to Garrison had been described during a drug trial then proceeding in federal court, and his name had been placed on the prosecution's witness list for the trial.

Warren A. Brown, Garrison's lawyer, said his client was not going to testify in the federal trial because doing so "would have been his death knell." The lawyer said authorities had pressured Garrison to cooperate in investigations -- with no success.

In the months leading to trial, authorities have reported little progress in determining a motive. Detectives said they had been told the shooting may have stemmed from Garrison's involvement in a love triangle.

Mr. Stokes, who was arrested a month after the shooting in New York City, remains the only person charged in the slayings.


The letter purportedly written by Mr. Stokes was presented in court yesterday during a pretrial motions hearing.

Judge John C. Themelis ruled prosecutors could present the letter during the trial. The letter includes instructions that seem designed to corroborate the alibi Mr. Stokes gave to police.

Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms would not say yesterday what motives the state would assign to Mr. Stokes during the trial.

Asked why he chose to appear in court to personally prosecute the Stokes case, Mr. Simms said only that he makes it a point to go into court for at least one case every year.

Jury selection in the trial is to begin today.