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Witness counters alibi in murder trial Store manager presents different date for sale claimed by Jamison


County prosecutors yesterday offered testimony to shoot down Curtis Aden Jamison's alibi for the day 15-year-old Tara Allison Gladden disappeared from her Columbia home.

Jamison, charged in Miss Gladden's slaying, told police that he had bought parts to repair the power steering of a 1980 Ford LTD on July 22, 1993 -- the last day Miss Gladden was seen alive, according to testimony at his trial in Howard Circuit Court.

"He was adamant about that," testified Sgt. L. Pete D'Antuono, a supervisor at the Police Department's investigations unit. "His sister and father confirmed his activities for that day."

But the manager of Mainline Automotive Parts Corp. in Baltimore, the store where Jamison said he bought the parts, testified for the prosecution that he did not find any record of such a purchase on July 22.

Manager Vernon Lyon said he did find an invoice for the purchase of a hose, gaskets and fluids for a 1980 LTD on July 24 -- two days after Jamison said he bought the parts and repaired the car with a friend at his parent's home in Baltimore.

On cross-examination, Mr. Lyon testified that his store sells only one kind of power-steering hose to fit a Ford LTD and that none was sold July 22.

He acknowledged that he did not check to see if other parts fitting a Ford LTD were sold that day.

Jamison, serving a 20-year sentence at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown for sexual relationships with two under-age girls, could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder. His trial resumes today.

Prosecutors contend that Jamison killed Miss Gladden so he could escape criminal charges filed against him over their sexual relationship. Those charges were dropped after Miss Gladden's death.

He was indicted in her slaying after a 17-month police investigation.

During yesterday's proceedings, Mr. Lyon testified that he searched through his store's invoices on Aug. 24, 1993, at the request of Sergeant D'Antuono and Detective Frank Lilly.

Sergeant D'Antuono testified that he and Detective Lilly went to the store after meeting with Jamison, who detailed his July 22 activities and claimed that he last talked to Miss Gladden in May 1993.

The meeting occurred a week after Miss Gladden's body was found in a culvert under Little Patuxent Parkway, about a half-mile from her Town Center townhouse.

Jamison -- who described his relationship with Miss Gladden as that of a "big brother" -- told investigators that he was not familiar with the area where Miss Gladden's body was found, Sergeant D'Antuono testified.

In questioning prosecution witnesses, defense attorney Edward Smith of Baltimore challenged the way police collected evidence at the culvert.

The witnesses said that police and volunteers spent a week collecting evidence such as sandals, earrings and hair in the stream that trickles through the culvert.

But Robert White, a retired state trooper, testified under cross-examination that the culvert was not guarded or cordoned off when he went to help search for evidence that week.

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