Man convicted in '96 killing of fellow dice gambler

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A man who has been waiting more than two years for trial was convicted yesterday on charges he shot an 18-year-old Northeast Baltimore man after gambling with him.

Yesterday's conviction of Mark Anthony Hemphill, 20, was the first of four murder cases against him.

Hemphill, of the 5100 block of Ivanhoe Ave., will be sentenced May 26. Baltimore prosecutors have asked Circuit Judge John C. Themelis for a sentence of life without parole.

Hemphill was convicted of killing Christopher Claude Bailey in October 1996. Another man involved, Shawnta Antwan Purnell, of the 1000 block of Cedarcroft Way, testified against Hemphill, court records show.

The pair had been playing dice with Bailey, who lived in the 700 block of E. 41st St. When they saw him leave with a large sum of money, they followed him to his 1991 Acura and, at gunpoint, ordered him to drive to the 1500 block of Hartsdale Road, police said.

After a five-day trial, Hemphill was found guilty of shooting Bailey three times in the head.

Bailey's body was found on the edge of the woods near Northwood Elementary School. Purnell and Hemphill were arrested about a month later.

Hemphill's attorney, Joan Fraser, argued that the case should be dismissed because it had taken so long to come to court. Themelis denied the motion.

Pub Date: 3/30/99

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