One of three prisoners charged with killing another inmate at the Maryland House of Correction Annex in Jessup suddenly decided against pleading guilty yesterday after hearing that one of his co-defendants would go to trial as expected.
William Dereck Stewart, 32, had accepted a deal last week to plead guilty to second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Lorenzo Hazel, 35, on Jan. 7, 2002.
But Stewart backed out of that deal after learning that prosecutors would set a date for a capital murder trial in the case against Michael Darryl Henry, 30. Stewart is not charged with capital murder.
"We had an understanding until he walked into the courtroom," said Stewart's lawyer, Archangelo Tuminelli.
A trial for Stewart and Henry is expected to be held next year.
A third defendant, Wade Clark Jr., 56, had been charged with capital murder but pleaded guilty yesterday to manslaughter after prosecutors said Henry appeared in a prison videotape to be the main assailant.
Tim Sullivan, one of Clark's lawyers, called it a "considerable victory" that the case went from the possibility of execution to no more than 10 additional years on Clark's lengthy sentence. His other attorney, William Kanwisher, said Hazel and another prisoner, Tyree Echols, assaulted Henry before lunch that day, and that Clark broke up the fight.
Clark, Stewart and Henry are accused of attacking Hazel and Echols just before dinner. The other inmate was able to get away from his assailants, but Hazel was stabbed 74 times.