Double-murder trial of Hampstead man reset for Sept. 21


The double-murder trial of Smith Harper Dean III, postponed by his attempted suicide June 10 in an isolation cell at the Carroll County jail, was rescheduled yesterday for Sept. 21 in Howard County.

Jail officials said Dean, 39, a Hampstead pit-beef entrepreneur, apparently hoarded an unknown number of antidepressant pills and swallowed them shortly before he was found unconscious on the floor of his cell.

Dean was treated for about a week at Carroll County General Hospital before being transferred to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital DTC Center in Jessup for evaluation.

Dean's jury trial on charges of killing Sharon L. Mechalske, 38, of Hampstead, his former girlfriend, and her date, Arcadia letter carrier Kent L. Cullison, 30, with a shotgun June 14 last year was to have begun two weeks ago. The trial had been moved to Howard to minimize pretrial publicity.

Three weeks have been set aside for the trial, said State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes, who conferred yesterday with Dean's lawyers and Raymond J. Kane Jr., administrative judge for the 5th Judicial Circuit of Carroll, Howard and Anne Arundel counties. Prosecutors said they intend to seek the death penalty.

Pub Date: 6/30/98

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