After deliberating for 20 minutes, a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury found a Woodlawn man guilty of first-degree murder Thursday for a stabbing that prosecutors said he committed in a fit of jealousy.
Terrell Caldwell, 39, is to be sentenced Feb. 24 for killing Leonard Collier, 26, whom he viewed as a competitor for the attentions of a woman they both knew, prosecutors said during the three-day trial.
The confrontation occurred in the early hours of June 12 outside the Woodlawn apartment of 32-year-old Mickele Gales, with whom Caldwell had been romantically involved in 2008. They remained friends and Caldwell, suddenly homeless, was staying with her for a few days while he looked for a place to live, Gales testified.
But hours before the killing, she told Caldwell he could no longer stay with her, after he answered her cell phone when a call came in from Collier, whom Gales said she considered her boyfriend at the time.
Caldwell remained at Gales' home, and he objected when Collier, who lived in East Baltimore, knocked on her door after midnight. The two men went outside.
"I don't know who hit who first," said Gales, who works for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and has a 9-year-old son. "They were both tangled up, and I was screaming and screaming. Then I saw blood on Leonard's shirt."
After stabbing Collier 13 times, Caldwell walked back into the apartment and left the man "dying in the rain in the middle of the night," prosecutor Katherine T. Sampson said.
Collier was pronounced dead at the scene after Gales called police, and Caldwell was arrested after officers broke down the apartment door. They found a bloody knife in the kitchen.
A recording of the 911 call was played for the jury Tuesday while Gales was testifying, tears streaming down her face. "Lenny! Breathe! Please breathe!" Gales could be heard shouting, while a dispatcher tried to persuade her to calm down long enough to provide an address.
Sitting at the defense table, Caldwell allowed a smile to cross his face.