Murder convictions overturned for man in killings of 5 women

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Convictions of first-degree murder were overturned yesterday by Maryland's second-highest court for a man sentenced to life in prison without parole in the 1999 killings of five women in a Northeast Baltimore rowhouse, but he will not be going free.

In a 36-page decision filed yesterday, the Court of Special Appeals ruled that Baltimore Circuit Judge Joseph P. McCurdy Jr. had failed to give the jury the option of convicting Tariq A. Malik, then 22, of the 1400 block of Kossuth St. of second-degree murder, given evidence at his trial in 2001.

As a result, the appeals court vacated Malik's five consecutive life sentences, but he continues to serve 190 years for related convictions on armed robbery, kidnapping and handgun violations and will be resentenced in Circuit Court for other convictions in the case, including felony murder.

Malik was one of four men convicted of forcing their way into the Elmley Avenue house of Mary McNeil Matthews, 39, in December 1999 and fatally shooting her; her mother, Mary Helen Collien, 56; Matthews' daughter, Makisha Jenkins, 18; and two family friends who were cousins by marriage, Levanna Spearman, 23, and Trennell Alston, 26. It was the city's worst mass slaying in a decade.

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