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County prosecutor leaving to go into private practice


One of Howard County's top prosecutors is resigning from the state's attorney's office to go into private practice in Baltimore.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Murtha's last day at the state's attorney's office -- where he has worked about five years -- will be Oct. 20.

Mr. Murtha, 36, of Towson is joining the firm of Irwin, Kerr, Green, McDonald and Dexter, where he will be an associate handling criminal and civil matters in state and federal courts.

"This is a growth opportunity," he said.

State's Attorney Marna McLendon said Mr. Murtha's departure will be "a tremendous loss" to her office. Ms. McLendon called him a "solid prosecutor and a great litigator."

Mr. Murtha, considered a rising star at the state's attorney's office, was one of three prosecutors who won convictions in 1993 for two Washington men in the Pam Basu carjacking murder, a case that received national attention.

Ms. McLendon said she expects to select another prosecutor tomorrow to fill Mr. Murtha's position.

His cases will be picked up by his replacement and other prosecutors.

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