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Carroll Digest


Motion to suppress evidence in death of psychologist denied

State police had more than enough reason to seek search warrants for a Mount Airy contractor who they suspected in the beating death of a Taylorsville psychologist, according to a Carroll County Circuit Court judge who denied a defense motion to throw out evidence that included bloodstains and financial records.

Randall Henry Gerlach, 57, of the 13000 block of Manor Drive in Frederick County, was charged June 5 with murder in the death of Dr. Rodney R. Cocking, who disappeared from his home Feb. 23 in the 2800 block of Sams Creek Road after meeting there with Gerlach. Cocking's remains were found June 17 in a remote area of Frederick County.

At a motions hearing last month, a police officer testified that he felt he had enough evidence to obtain a search warrant on Feb. 27 but not enough to arrest Gerlach then. Defense attorneys Barry H. Helfand and David A. Martella noted that the standard is the same for both, and sought to have evidence such as blood in the defendant's truck and a $300,000 debt to Cocking excluded.

Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. pointed out that requests for search warrants are drafted by police who are in the midst of investigations, and he said that common sense often dictates that they continue investigating before making an arrest. Beck signed a 12-page written opinion Wednesday, saying the defense argument did not fall under any of the instances set by appeals courts that require suppression of evidence.

$385,000 in budget would aid hospice center project

The Carroll commissioners voted yesterday to include in their capital budget $385,000 that would be used to help build the county's first in-patient hospice center.

The money would be used for a driveway, storm drains and utilities at the $4.95 million Hospice House, which is to be built at Stoner Avenue and Washington Road. The commissioners also voted to forgive Carroll Hospice an outstanding debt of $285,000, allowing that money to be applied to the Hospice House project.

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