Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Testimony puts suspect's car at scene


A Jeep owned by Darris A. Ware left a Severn home moments before police arrived and found two women shot dead, a Howard County Circuit Court jury was told yesterday.

Mr. Ware, 24, is being tried on two counts of first-degree murder in the Dec. 30, 1993, slayings of Betina "Kristi" Gentry, 18, and Cynthia Allen, 22. The former Navy seaman could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Ms. Gentry's mother, Nina Gentry, found the victims. Each had been shot in the head and chest, in a house in the 1900 block of Bastille Court. The shootings occurred the same day as a quarrel between Ms. Gentry and Mr. Ware, her one-time fiance, according to testimony.

Yesterday, Officer Charles Knight of the Anne Arundel County Police Department testified that after police arrived at the house, Mr. Ware called there and spoke with officers. During the conversation, Mr. Ware agreed to come to the house, the officer said.

Officer Knight said he stopped Mr. Ware's Jeep and arrested him near the house after learning of the argument. He said he also was aware that Mr. Ware had pulled a gun on the victim's brother and that neighbors saw his black Jeep Cherokee pull out of the victim's driveway just before police arrived.

The testimony was the first evidence that puts Mr. Ware at the scene of the deaths. The trial, which is expected to take about three weeks, was transferred to Howard County after Mr. Ware's attorneys argued that the move was necessary to ensure a fair trial.

In other testimony yesterday, two of Mr. Ware's former roommates said the defendant frequently carried a black-handled handgun and often took it in his Jeep when he left the apartment they shared in the 7800 block of Harold Court in Glen Burnie.

Deputy State's Attorney Gerald K. Anders said testimony in the days ahead would show that in the hours before the murder, Mr. Ware pulled the .380-automatic handgun on the victim's brother, Jeffrey Gentry. That incident occurred when Mr. Gentry confronted Mr. Ware because he had struck his sister, Mr. Anders said.

Mark Blumberg, the public defender in the case, told jurors in opening statements this week that Mr. Ware was a "convenient suspect" for police. There is no murder weapon, no confession and no eyewitness, Mr. Blumberg said.

Mr. Blumberg also said testimony would show that Mr. Gentry was mistaken about Mr. Ware pulling a gun on him and that his description of the gun was inconsistent with the description of the silver-barreled weapon provided by Mr. Ware's roommates.

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