Man who killed with knife given life plus 20 years


A 31-year-old Edgewater man received a life sentence plus 20 years yesterday for fatally stabbing an 18-year-old last October at the Villages of Tall Trees apartment complex in Essex .

James Dillard of the first block of Fenway South was convicted by a Baltimore County jury this month of the murder and attempted robbery of Roland Scales, who lived with his parents in the 5300 block of Castle Stone Drive in the Rossville area. Dillard was sentenced yesterday by Circuit Judge J. William Hinkel.

Dillard and co-defendant William Gregory Mullins had no money when they left work as porters at Steeltown Entertainment Complex on North Point Boulevard early last Oct. 24 and decided to rob someone, said Assistant State's Attorney Terry King.

The two took "an arsenal of kitchen knives," including a meat cleaver, from Dillard's home to the apartment complex about 4 a.m. Two cousins of Mr. Scales told the police that the defendants talked to him about buying drugs, Mr. King said.

Dillard and the victim entered a hallway in the first block of Seversky Court, Mr. Scales began to scream and neighbors called the police.

Help came too late, because one of the seven knife wounds entered the heart and lung, Mr. King said.

Dillard fled but was arrested the next day. The jury deliberated about six hours before rejecting his claim of self-defense.

Mullins, 20, of the 12300 block of Eastern Ave., was a lookout for the supposed robbery, Mr. King said. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a five-year prison term this week from Judge Christian M. Kahl.

The victim's father, Michael Scales, 41, said yesterday that he is angry that his son was "killed by an absolute stranger -- and the way he did it." Mr. Scales said he was satisfied with the sentence and praised the prosecutors.

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