Suspect's confession to killing played in court Detective testifies Metheny was alert, cooperative


Joseph R. Metheny dragged his hands across his face, listening as his voice was played yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court in a tape-recorded confession he gave to police more than a year ago.

"I killed her. I'm a very sick person," Metheny is heard saying on the tape in response to questions by Baltimore homicide Detective Homer M. Pennington Jr.

Metheny, 43, on trial for murder in the stabbing death of Kimberly Spicer, 23, confessed to police hours after her body was found near his Southwest Baltimore trailer on Dec. 15, 1996. Metheny said on the tape that a month earlier, after meeting Spicer at a bar, he stabbed her to death with a black-handled knife and kept her body hidden.

The case marks the first time that Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy has sought the death penalty since she took office three years ago.

Metheny, who has claimed he killed up to 10 people, is also charged with killing Cathy Ann Magaziner, 39. He led police to her decapitated remains after Spicer's body was found wrapped in a red tarp near the Joe Stein & Sons pallet factory, where Metheny lived and worked as a forklift driver.

Prosecutors played the tape after calling Pennington to the witness stand. The detective said Metheny appeared alert and cooperative at the time of his confession.

On the tape, Metheny sounded emotional -- often pausing for up to 10 seconds before answering questions -- but spoke coherently.

"I need help," he said after admitting to the Spicer slaying.

As he was led out of the courtroom, Metheny, who has pleaded not guilty in Spicer's death, looked at Kathie Price, the victim's mother, and his face crumpled into tears.

"You stinking animal," a man sitting next to Price muttered to the defendant.

Outside the courtroom, Price said the trial has been especially difficult because her husband died a week ago, after suffering a heart attack on the first day of the trial last week.

"I'm sure the stress added to it," she said.

But she added, "God is upholding me. I know [Kimberly] is in heaven now, and my husband's there with her."

Pub Date: 5/01/98

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