Man charged in 1993 slaying was in jail then


Another article Wednesday reported incorrectly the activities of Arnold resident JoAnne Valentine the night she was killed. Mrs. Valentine had closed Rumblefish, one of the Pasadena nightclubs she and her husband owned. The article also reported incorrectly why Gilbert Griffin, who had been charged in her death, is in prison. He is serving a 10-year sentence for stealing the handgun that police say was used to kill Mrs. Valentine.

The Sun regrets the errors.

One of the two men charged in the 1993 slaying of an Arnold nightclub owner was in the Baltimore County Detention Center at the time of the crime, according to records obtained by the defendant's lawyers.

Gilbert E. Griffin, 42, of Baltimore was placed at the scene of the killing of JoAnne S. Valentine by a key prosecution witness. But Griffin was in jail from Aug. 30, 1993, until Sept. 28, 1993, when he was acquitted of theft charges in Baltimore County Circuit Court, said Pamela North, Griffin's lawyer.

Ms. North said yesterday that she had sent a letter and certified copies of the Detention Center records to Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, asking that the murder charges against Griffin be dismissed by Friday.

Mrs. Valentine, 47, was gunned down on Sept. 26, 1993, in the driveway of her home in the 500 block of Broadwater Road after she closed the two nightclubs -- A. L. Gators and Rumblefish -- she operated with her husband.

Griffin and Edward W. McLeod, 44, were indicted in December on charges of first-degree murder, attempted robbery, assault with intent to commit robbery, conspiracy and handgun violations.

Griffin, who is serving a 10-year sentence on an unrelated theft conviction, was identified by Clarence D. Pittman as being with Mr. McLeod on the night of the murder.

According to court records, Pittman, who is awaiting trial on an armed carjacking charge, agreed to testify against Griffin and Mr. McLeod in exchange for prosecutors' accepting his plea to a lesser count of robbery.

Pittman, 49, told police he was at Mr. McLeod's home when Mr. McLeod and Griffin returned from the slaying scene, that he heard them discuss it and saw them put a handgun in the trunk of Mr. McLeod's car, said assistant public defender Carroll McCabe, Mr. McLeod's lawyer.

Pittman is "saying these two guys were together when the murder occurred. How can that be true when one of the two guys he identifies was in jail at the time?" Ms. McCabe asked.

She said Pittman also told police that he and Mr. McLeod were old friends but could not pick her client's photo out of a lineup.

Mr. Weathersbee said yesterday that he was checking out the defense lawyers' claims and declined to discuss the case further.

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