Curtis Aden Jamison enlisted a 12-year-old Baltimore girl's help in a plot to kill 15-year-old Tara Allison Gladden so he could beat criminal charges for their sexual relationship, a prosecutor said in court yesterday.
Jamison, on trial in the 1993 slaying of the Columbia teen-ager, had the girl call Miss Gladden's home each morning for nearly a week to find out if she was alone, Senior Assistant State's Attorney Michael Rexroad said.
On July 22, 1993 -- six days after Miss Gladden was interviewed by police about her relationship with the then 28-year-old man -- the Baltimore girl learned Miss Gladden was alone and relayed the information to Jamison, Mr. Rexroad said.
"I'm going to do it," Jamison told the girl, according to Mr. Rexroad. Later that morning, the prosecutor said, Jamison called the girl -- with whom he had a sexual relationship -- and said, "It's done."
"Curtis Jamison simply said, 'I am not going to jail. Tara is not going to testify against me. I'm going to get rid of her,' " Mr. Rexroad said in his opening statement during Jamison's Howard Circuit Court trial.
Today, key testimony is expected to come from the Baltimore girl, who now is 15 years old.
Jamison is serving a 20-year prison term for having sexual relationships with her and another under-age girl.
The girl, who introduced Jamison to Miss Gladden, helped detectives with their investigation by allowing 16 telephone conversations with him to be recorded in the week after Miss Gladden's body was found. She also wore a recording device during a meeting with Jamison at Westview Mall in Catonsville.
Miss Gladden's nude, decomposed body was found Aug. 17, 1993, in a culvert under Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia's Town Center, about three weeks after she disappeared.
Much of yesterday's proceedings focused on the gruesome discovery -- testimony that caused several members of Miss Gladden's family to leave the courtroom in tears.
After Miss Gladden's death, county prosecutors were forced to drop sex-abuse charges that were filed against Jamison alleging he had a three-month relationship with her.
The Baltimore man was indicted in February on first-degree murder charges in the strangulation of Miss Gladden. He could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted.
Yesterday, Jamison's attorney, Edward Smith of Baltimore, opted to have a court trial for his client before Judge James Dudley instead of a jury.
Mr. Smith said last week that he was concerned that a backlash from O. J. Simpson's acquittal would harm his client, a black man charged with a crime involving a white victim.
The attorney said race often is an issue in cases involving black defendants and white victims, but that has been exacerbated by the Simpson case -- a case that highlighted America's racial divisions.
During yesterday's testimony, a member of a Rockville-based dog search team helping police testified how he discovered Miss Gladden's body lying face down in a trickling stream flowing in the culvert under Little Patuxent Parkway.
Allen Rossi of Rockville testified that his search dog, a Rottweiler named Silka, was adamant about going into the culvert, even though it was on the fringe of the search area.
With his dog waiting outside, Mr. Rossi said he walked into the darkened culvert, seeing what he first thought was rolled-up carpeting.
He then used a cigarette lighter to guide him to the object, which he discovered was a body.
Mr. Rossi and another member of the search team, Robert Sessions of Dickerson, testified they and their dogs later returned to the scene, scoured the area downstream from the culvert and found a blanket, hair and a black shoe.
Meanwhile, police cadets spent a week sifting through the gravel stream bed looking for evidence, testified James Roeder, a police laboratory technician.
They found a few teeth, hair and cotton fibers.
A key ring and a pair of earrings earlier had been found by police in the culvert.
Mr. Roeder noted the cadets did not find what police investigators wanted most -- a small bone that was missing from the throat of Miss Gladden's body.
The bone, requested by state medical examiners, was needed to help determine whether Miss Gladden was strangled. It was never found.