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  1. #1
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    Lee Stephens Sentenced to LWOP in 2005 MD Murder of CO David McGuinn

    Death penalty trial delayed for Md. prisoner accused of killing guard

    Test of new restrictions could come 5 years after officer's death, but appeal pending

    Maryland's first death penalty trial under the state's new restrictions has been delayed until May, and a pending pretrial appeal could delay it further.

    The trial of Lee Edward Stephens, one of two prisoners charged in the death of a correctional officer, had been scheduled to begin next month in an Anne Arundel County courtroom, four years after David McGuinn was stabbed at the now-closed Maryland House of Correction in Jessup. The trial was recently postponed for 10 months, giving the defense more time to prepare and perhaps resolve the pretrial appeal.

    That appeal, which questions changes in Maryland's death penalty law enacted in 2009, could delay the trial further. If not argued before April, when the appeal is tentatively set to be heard, a decision is unlikely before the trial's scheduled May 5 start.

    This month, the Maryland attorney general's office asked the Court of Special Appeals to hear the appeal before Thanksgiving. The request was opposed by Stephens' lawyers, who said preparing for the appeal would conflict with other work.

    Stephens, 31, and Lamar Cornelius Harris, 39, could receive the death penalty if convicted of killing McGuinn, 42, on July 25, 2006. They were teenagers when they committed the crimes that sent them to prison for life.

    In 2009, Maryland's death penalty law was amended to limit capital punishment to murder cases in which there is DNA or other biological evidence, a videotaped confession or a video recording of the crime.

    Stephens' lawyers challenged whether the state's evidence meets the new legal standard. Last year, they asked a judge to hold a hearing on whether the prosecution's DNA evidence, which includes blood on Stephens' underwear, met the requirement of tying DNA to the crime.

    In court documents, they described a crime scene so gory that at least one inmate told them that when he was led out of his prison tier, "he literally slipped and fell in a pool of blood." Contending that McGuinn's blood "was everywhere," they argued that his DNA could have linked any of the more than 40 prisoners on the tier to his homicide. They sought to have other prisoners testify.

    Prosecutors contended that the DNA evidence was for a jury to evaluate.

    After Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner rejected the defense challenge, Stephens' lawyers appealed the ruling.

    "This is an important issue," said Gary E. Proctor, one of two lawyers hired by the Office of the Public Defender to represent Stephens. "This is the first appeal of the new statute in the state."

    Stephens' trial is scheduled to last 10 weeks. Longtime court administrator Robert G. Wallace said he could not recall a trial in the county lasting that long.

    No trial date has been set for Harris. His competency to stand trial remains an issue.

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-07-23/news/bs-md-mcguinn-trial-rescheduled-20100723_1_lee-edward-stephens-death-penalty-gary-e-proctor

  2. #2
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    Judge won't delay trial in death-penalty case without order from top court
    Correctional officer slain in 2006, trial set for May despite unanswered pretrial question

    Frustrated by delays in trying one of the first murder cases under the state's new death penalty law, a judge said Monday that unless Maryland's highest court orders a postponement, the trial will begin May 2 as planned.

    "I invite you to go down the street," Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner told attorneys for Lee Edward Stephens, who unsuccessfully asked to push back their client's trial in the 2006 fatal stabbing of a Maryland House of Correction officer.

    Lawyers Gary E. Proctor and Michael E. Lawlor said they will seek a delay at the nearby Court of Appeals where a pretrial appeal on evidence is to be argued in April, with no ruling expected in time for the May trial.

    Hackner's suggestion was in part procedural, but also will put the top court in a situation of deciding whether the pretrial issue and court date are critical enough for an emergency hearing and ruling.

    "Because if they are inclined in the least bit to think the procedure that counsel was recommending in this case, which I declined to follow, was an appropriate procedure, they will be very quick to say that. We've have had voting cases that have gone from my desk to their desk with hours and they've ordered one way or the other," Hackner said.

    The 10-week jury trial has been rescheduled three times in two years, each time accounting for 20 percent of Hackner's workyear. It must be scheduled far ahead. But if the Court of Appeals blocks the May trial date, Hackner is not forced by court rules to pencil in a new date until the top court says so.

    A second defense issue with the May court date involved a specialist hired for Stephens' defense and what Lawlor and Proctor said may be perceived as a conflict of interest or require replacing her for other reasons. She would have to be brought up to speed on the case. Hackner said he saw no conflict and thought it made sense to keep her on the Stephens case.

    Prosecutors, too, objected to a delay that would put Stephens on track to be tried more than five years after David McGuinn was killed.

    Stephens and Lamar Cornelius Harris face the possibility of execution if convicted of first-degree murder in the July 25, 2006, slaying of McGuinn, 42, whose death was a factor in closing the Maryland House of Correction. Stephens, 31, and Harris, 40, were serving life sentences there at the time.

    Anne Arundel County prosecutors and the Attorney General's Office have declined to discuss the case.

    Stephens' pretrial issue challenges the workings of the death penalty law changes enacted in 2009.

    The controversial changes restrict when prosecutors can seek capital punishment to first-degree murder convictions in which there is DNA or other biological evidence, a videotaped confession or a video recording of the crime.

    Proctor said that Anne Arundel County prosecutors said biological or DNA evidence links Stephens to McGuinn's death. Hackner denied his request for a pretrial hearing on whether there's enough evidence for a jury to make that connection. The defense appealed.

    Proctor said it appears that 40 other men, not charged, were at the crime scene – aside from correctional officers and police – and five would testify that they had the victim's blood on them, or in their cells, or had stepped in it, he said.

    According to legal arguments for Stephens, "it is possible to imagine that there may be a case where there is DNA evidence that is relevant to guilt, but does not link the defendant to the act of murder."

    No trial date is set for Harris. His pretrial appeal is to be argued next month.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,3966717.story

  3. #3
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    Court of appeals grants stay in potential death penalty case

    The Maryland Court of Appeals on Thursday granted a stay in the murder trial of Lee Edward Stephens, who was charged in 2006 with the fatal stabbing of a Maryland House of Correction officer.

    The trial had been scheduled to begin in early May. However, the Court of Appeals is set to argue in April a pre-trial appeal in Stephens' case -- one of the first under the state's new death penalty law – on the trial judge's decision to not hold a hearing on the DNA evidence. The trial has been postponed numerous times since it was first scheduled in 2009.

    Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner also denied a request to push back the trial date and told Stephens' attorneys on Jan. 10 that they could go to the Courts of Appeals, where the pretrial appeal on evidence was scheduled to be argued in April, to seek a delay in the case. A ruling on that pretrial appeal was not expected in time for the May 2 trial date.

    Stephens and Lamar Cornelius Harris face the possibility of execution if convicted of first-degree murder in the July 25, 2006, slaying of David McGuinn, 42, whose death was a factor in closing the Maryland House of Correction. Stephens, 31, and Harris, 40, were serving life sentences there at the time.

    Neither of Stephens' attorneys, Michael Lawlor of Greenbelt or Gary Proctor of Baltimore, were available for comment Friday. Assistant State's attorney Sandra Howell declined to comment.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...0,632481.story

  4. #4
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    Prison guard’s accused killer seeks delay in trial

    One of two men accused of killing a prison guard at the Maryland House of Correction in 2006 was in the state’s highest court on Friday, seeking to further delay his trial while he challenges his eligibility for the death penalty.

    The case marks the first time the Court of Appeals has considered a 2009 Maryland law that limits capital punishment to cases in which the conviction is based on DNA evidence, a videotaped confession or a video recording that conclusively links the defendant to the murder.

    Lee E. Stephens argues that the revision entitles him to a pretrial hearing to determine if he is eligible for the death penalty.

    A judge in January improperly denied Stephens the chance to challenge whether the blood allegedly found on him contained the DNA of David W. McGuinn, who was stabbed to death in the Jessup facility on July 25, 2006, attorney A. Stephen Hut Jr. argued before the Court of Appeals.

    Assistant Attorney General James E. Williams countered that Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner did nothing wrong by denying Stephens a hearing. Hackner said the jury could determine if the DNA evidence is strong enough to prove Stephens’ guilt and if death should be his punishment if convicted.

    Hackner also refused to delay Stephens’ trial, which had been scheduled for May 2, but the Court of Appeals later ordered a stay until it takes action on the case.

    Stephens and Lamarr C. Harris are accused of stabbing McGuinn while both defendants were serving life sentences at the Jessup facility, which has since been closed.

    During Friday’s hour-long session, several judges said Stephens’ appeal might be premature.

    “You’ll have the right to appeal from an adverse [final] decision,” Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. told Hut. Murphy also voiced concern that permitting a challenge to Hackner’s pretrial decision in this capital case could spur similar challenges for much less serious crimes, causing delays in the trial courts.

    But Hut said Murphy’s concern was unwarranted, as the right to an immediate interlocutory appeal could and should be limited to death-penalty cases.

    “Death is different,” Hut said. “Being subjected to a death trial is different.”

    For example, when the death penalty is an option, jurors are seated only if they convince the court they could sentence someone to death. These “death-qualified” jurors are more likely to find the defendant guilty, Hut said.

    That would not be an issue if a judge determined at a mandated pretrial hearing that the case was not eligible for the death penalty, said Hut, of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP in Washington, D.C.

    “It is incumbent upon the circuit judge [to hold a hearing] as a matter of fundamental fairness,” Hut said.

    Williams countered that Maryland’s death-penalty statute does not “in any way, shape or form” require judges to hold a pretrial hearing on the DNA evidence, which he said can be challenged during trial.

    Allowing defendants to appeal pretrial rulings like this one would result in death-penalty cases being “disrupted or brought to a grinding halt.”

    The Court of Appeals, which heard the case on direct appeal from the circuit court, did not indicate when it will rule in the case, Stephens v. State of Maryland, No. 114, Sept. Term 2010.

    http://thedailyrecord.com/2011/04/08...elay-in-trial/

  5. #5
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    Top Md. court throws out appeal by prisoner facing death penalty
    Judges clear path for trial in 2006 homicide

    Less than a week after getting its first look at Maryland's new death penalty law, the state's highest court threw out a pretrial appeal Tuesday by a prisoner who is charged with murdering a correctional officer.

    The order came four days after courtroom arguments in which an assistant attorney general asked the Court of Appeals to dismiss the bid by prisoner Lee Edward Stephens in the fatal stabbing of David McGuinn, a 42-year-old correctional officer.

    In the ruling, the judges appear to agree with Assistant Attorney General James E. Williams, who argued that Stephens' appeal was premature. Stephens has not yet been tried in McGuinn's July 2006 homicide at the Maryland House of Correction, where Stephens, 31, and his co-defendant were then serving life sentences.

    "Our argument was this was not allowed by law — it is not a final judgment," said Raquel Guillory, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office.

    An Anne Arundel County judge had refused Stephens' request for a hearing on whether prosecutors have evidence that could meet the stringent restrictions that legislators enacted in 2009 in the death penalty law.

    The changes limit prosecutors' authority to seek execution for first-degree murder convictions to killings in which there is DNA or other biological evidence, a videotaped confession or a video recording of the crime.

    But, Williams had argued, they say nothing about a judge's deciding before the trial whether the evidence qualifies for a death penalty case. With rare exceptions, appeals do not start until after a verdict.

    "The state made a large point that of the fact that this was not an appealable order," said H. Stephen Hut Jr., whose Washington law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr has been helping Stephens' attorneys. "It was not an insignificant part of the argument last Friday. … It is a disappointment, but is not a shock at all."

    The ruling also lifted the Court of Appeals' stay on plans for a 10-week trial for Stephens. New trial dates will have to be selected.

    Co-defendant Lamar Cornelius Harris, 41, has a pretrial appeal pending.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,5811970.story

  6. #6
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    Prison guard’s accused killer loses battle over mental-health records

    The mental-health treatment records of an inmate who is accused of killing a correctional officer must be turned over to a circuit court judge, the state’s highest court has said.

    Defense lawyers in the capital case against Lamar C. Harris say the records are privileged, but the Court of Appeals on Friday said the order to produce them cannot be appealed until after a trial is held.

    Harris is one of two men accused of stabbing correctional officer David McGuinn, 42, to death in 2006 at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup, which has since been closed.

    Physicians at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center have determined Harris to be incompetent to stand trial; however, no court has held a hearing on that issue. Friday’s opinion by the top court removes a key obstacle to such a hearing.

    Harris, 40, and Lee E. Stephens, 31, are already serving life sentences. Each could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering McGuinn.

    In April, the Court of Appeals gave the state a green light to proceed with Stephens’ prosecution. That trial is scheduled to begin in January in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, according to court records.

    http://thedailyrecord.com/2011/06/24...ealth-records/

  7. #7
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    New death penalty law, appeals delay trials in killing of correctional officer


    Warden John Wolfe stands on the fourth floor of the East Wing of the vacated Maryland House of Correction -- aka "the Cut" -- at Jessup Correctional Institution. Wolfe says the murder of corrections officer David McGuinn while on duty on this floor was the final straw in the decision to shut the 19th-century facility. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / July 24, 2011)

    In the past five years, since corrections officer David McGuinn was stabbed to death at the hulking House of Correction in Jessup, there have been major changes in Maryland's corrections system — new prisons built, new programs added and tighter controls to rein in gangs and contraband. The House of Correction itself, once notorious for violence and corruption, has been closed and is set to be torn down.

    Yet one thing hasn't changed: The two prisoners accused of killing McGuinn still haven't come to trial.

    Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the slaying of McGuinn, a by-the-book officer and father of three. Many of those familiar with the case have been frustrated by the delays in prosecuting his accused killers, and former colleagues wonder why no one has yet been held accountable.

    "Shame on the system. It's a blight on the criminal justice system that neither of them have gone to trial yet," said Patrick Moran, director of AFSCME Maryland, a collective bargaining unit for correctional officers. "I understand that people have their rights, but it's unacceptable."

    For McGuinn's family and correctional officers, the case ought to be put to rest, he said.

    Laura Blankenship, president of the local union, said the message that correctional officers are getting is that "we can be killed in the line of duty and nothing happens."

    The prosecutions of Lee Edward Stephens and Lamarr C. Harris have been stalled for a variety of reasons, including battles over medical records and the difficulties of scheduling a 10-week trial. Another delay occurred because the wife of a defense attorney was scheduled to give birth. Most notably, Maryland legislators rewrote the state's death penalty law in 2009, and that has led to a new set of legal challenges.

    In the meantime, Stephens, 32, and Harris, 41, continue to serve their life-plus sentences for murders committed while they were teenagers.

    Legal experts say that the two cases are working through the weighty and time-devouring issues that have always come with capital cases. But now, the state's new death penalty law — which limits the cases in which prosecutors can seek capital punishment — will face its first major challenges.

    That carries even more potential for delay, said Scott Shellenberger, the state's attorney for Baltimore County.

    "I certainly understand that the law has changed in the interim, but 5 years is way too long before you get to trial," said Shellenberger, who is not involved in the two cases. "Now there are four new ways for lawyers to muck it up. Good lawyers are going to challenge it, based on the new law."

    [subhed]

    For the first few years after McGuinn was killed, on one evening each July, somber correctional officers, flickering candles in hand, gathered outside the House of Correction to remember their fallen colleague. There was no vigil last year; but the union's local is planning an event for Monday night.

    McGuinn's memory lives on in other ways: his name is on plaques, on the signpost of a road entering the Jessup prison complex, and on faded T-shirts remembering him as a "fallen hero."

    By all accounts, the 42-year-old, nicknamed "Homeland Security" by coworkers, was thought of as a humble and serious man. He was so private that only after he was killed did people who worked alongside him know that he had children — a daughter, son and stepdaughter — and a large family in Atlantic City, N.J.

    Only if they'd read his obituary in his hometown newspaper would they have learned that his family tree includes Matthew Henson, known as one of the first Arctic explorers to reach the North Pole, and that he had worked in Atlantic County as a certified emergency medical technician.

    McGuinn's relatives did not respond to interview requests for this article or could not be reached.

    On July 25, 2006, McGuinn was taking head counts in the prison's west wing when he was attacked from behind shortly before 10 p.m. He was on Tier E4's narrow, cell-lined catwalk when he was repeatedly stabbed.

    A day later, Stephens and Harris were charged in the death. In the statement of charges, Maryland State Police said Harris was identified by a witness and that clothes of both prisoners were bloody. Public safety officials said it appeared that one of the two inmates had a tool used to tamper with cell door locks. Prosecutors have never offered a motive for the attack.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,6415710.story

  8. #8
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    Hearings will allow closer look into death penalty cases
    Attorneys for inmate accused of killing corrections officer want to see prosecutors' case
    August 21, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

    Attorneys for an inmate accused of killing a corrections officer five years ago want prosecutors to reveal their evidence to determine whether it satisfies the state's death penalty statute.

    The hearing, requested by lawyers for Lee Edward Stephens, is now allowed under a rule enacted by the state's highest court in June. In addition to giving opposing attorneys a peek into the other side's case, the hearings would allow judges to weed out death penalty prosecutions that don't satisfy the new law, one expert said.

    Stephens' attorneys are hoping that as a result of the hearing, a judge will take the death penalty off the table for their client.

    "If we are right, and I believe we are, Mr. Stephens will not have a death penalty trial," said Gary E. Proctor, one of Stephens' attorneys.

    Stephens and another inmate, Lamarr C. Harris, are accused of the fatal stabbing in 2006 of corrections officer David McGuinn, 42, in the now-closed Maryland House of Correction, where Stephens and Harris were serving life sentences.

    Five years after the killing, the co-defendants have not been tried, in part because of changes to the state's death penalty law.

    The changes, which restrict the cases in which prosecutors can seek capital punishment, reserve the death penalty for first-degree murder in which there is DNA or other biological evidence that links the defendant to the murder, a videotaped confession or a video recording of the crime.

    Prosecutors have said in earlier court filings that they will use DNA to tie Stephens to the crime.

    Anne Arundel County prosecutors declined to comment on the challenge to their evidence.

    "We are still reviewing those motions and will be preparing for those motions," said Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.

    Stephens' attorneys asked for such a hearing two years ago, but were turned down by Judge Paul A. Hackner. But the Court of Appeals enacted a rule in June – two months after Stephens' appeal was dismissed – to allow defense lawyers to challenge whether prosecutors' evidence measures up to the requirements of the death penalty law. One judge called the hearings "a preview of coming attractions" in capital cases.

    The new rule was designed to make it clear that judges have the authority to decide whether there appears to be evidence for a death penalty case if defense lawyers challenge that assertion.

    While the rule was being crafted, a similar proceeding was held for Thomas Leggs Jr., who was accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a child on the Eastern Shore. A judge allowed his death penalty case to continue after prosecutors explained the evidence they intended to use at a trial. However, in Leggs' case, no trial was held. In exchange for prosecutors' agreeing to not seek the death penalty, Leggs pleaded guilty in March and was sentenced to life without parole.

    In Stephens' case, getting the death penalty tossed out would be a major defense win, said lawyer Andrew Levy, who teaches at the University of Maryland law school. But the hearing could help Stephens' lawyers if they lose, too: "Any time you get an opportunity to force the prosecution to show you some of their hand, it's a no-brainer, you take it."

    Stephens' trial, predicted to last seven weeks, is scheduled to begin in January.

    In 2006, investigators wrote in charging documents that Harris was seen stabbing McGuinn and that a bloody T-shirt was found under Stephens' bed.

    But Stephens' lawyers have countered that McGuinn's blood on their client's clothing and other items in his cell does not prove that he had a role in the slaying because blood was "everywhere."

    "His link to the crime scene, also his home, is not, however, a link to the act of murder," they wrote to the judge in their request for the hearing.

    They have long claimed that the tier was so blood-covered that at least one inmate slipped and fell in it and that others had blood on their cells or curtains.

    Stephens' lawyers also claim that the death penalty unnecessarily allows execution in violation of the state Constitution. That argument did not gain traction in the Leggs case.

    Hackner, the judge, is scheduled to hear Stephens' pretrial motions in September but it's not clear if he will weigh the death penalty evidence at that time.

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/201...gary-e-proctor

  9. #9
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    Judge OKs death penalty trial in prison guard slaying

    The trial of a prisoner charged with killing a state correctional officer will remain a death-penalty case, an Anne Arundel County judge ruled this afternoon after hearing that the victim's DNA was found on the prisoner's clothing.

    Lawyers for Lee Edward Stephens, 32, said they were not surprised that Judge Paul A. Hackner refused to eliminate the possibility of capital punishment. Stephens is one of two prisoners facing a possible death sentence in the 2006 stabbing of Cpl. David McGuinn at the now-closed House of Correction in Jessup.

    Defense lawyers had sought to question people expected to be prosecution witnesses at Stephens' trial, in an effort to persuade Hackner that prosecutors could not meet requirements of Maryland's death penalty law. Changes made in 2009 reserve capital punishment for murders in which there is a videotaped confession, a video recording of the crime, or DNA or other biological evidence that links the defendant to the murder.

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    Prosecutors said that they have DNA evidence and three witnesses who would say Stephens took part in the slaying.

    Hackner turned down a defense request for a long hearing. Instead, prosecutors summarized key elements of their case: McGuinn's blood was on a shirt and boots in Stephens' cell, on his boxer shorts and on a trash bag taken from his cell.

    Stephens' lawyers contend that evidence links their client, along with other prisoners, to the crime scene, but not to the crime itself.

    Stephens' trial is scheduled to start in January and is expected to last seven weeks.

    It's unclear whether the other prisoner charged, Lamarr C. Harris, 41, will be tried. At least three psychiatrists have said he is not mentally competent to stand trial, but Hackner could order a new evaluation.

    On July 25, 2006, McGuinn was taking head counts in the prison's west wing when he was attacked from behind shortly before 10 p.m. He was on Tier E4's narrow, cell-lined catwalk when he was repeatedly stabbed.

    A day later, Stephens and Harris were charged in the death. In the statement of charges, Maryland State Police said Harris was identified by a witness and that clothes of both prisoners were bloody. Public safety officials said it appeared that one of the two inmates had a tool used to tamper with cell door locks.

    Prosecutors have not offered a motive for the attack.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,5147451.story

  10. #10
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    Jury selection to start in trial of prisoner accused of killing of correctional officer

    Jury selection in the death penalty trial of one of two prisoners charged with murdering a correctional officer more than five years ago will begin Tuesday, in a case that could test the validity of the state's new death penalty law.

    The Anne Arundel County Circuit Court has called a pool of 200 potential jurors for the trial of Lee Edward Stephens, accused of fatally stabbing Cpl. David McGuinn. Judge Paul A. Hackner scheduled opening statements for Jan. 9 in the trial, which may last seven weeks.

    If Stephens, 32, becomes the first person convicted and sentenced to death under the 2009 changes to state law, the resulting appeal would challenge the measure.

    Changes made to the law reserve the death penalty for murders in which there is a videotaped confession, a video recording of the crime, or DNA or other biological evidence linking the defendant to the crime. In this case, prosecutors said they have DNA.

    Prosecutors maintain that McGuinn's blood was on a shirt and boots in Stephens' cell, on his boxer shorts, as well as on a trash bag in the cell.

    The defense, however, has countered that in the chaotic aftermath of the stabbing, prisoners were pulled from their cells and slipped in McGuinn's blood. That would tie not only Stephens, but a number of other prisoners to the crime scene, the defense contends.

    If Stephens is convicted and sentenced to death, his case will automatically be appealed, and that's when challenges to the new law would go before the state's highest court. Stephens' defense team has laid the groundwork for that during pretrial hearings before Hackner, who ruled against the defense.

    The jury is expected to hear from dozens of witnesses, prisoners among them. At a hearing in the fall, prosecutors said they have two witnesses who can identify Stephens as one of the people who played a role in killing McGuinn and another who saw Stephens and Lamar C. Harris, the other prisoner charged with murdering McGuinn, on the cell tier at the time of the stabbing.

    The trial has been delayed several times. "It's time to put everything on and see what happens," said Gary E. Proctor, one of Stephens' lawyers.

    Stephens and Harris, both of whom are serving life-plus sentences for murder, are accused in the killing of McGuinn on a narrow catwalk outside prisoners' cells. The homicide was one of the main reasons the Maryland House of Correction, built in the 1800s, was closed. Public safety officials said it appeared that one of the two inmates had a tool used to tamper with the cell door locks.

    It is unclear if Harris will face trial. Although psychiatrists previously considered him mentally unfit to stand trial, he is not scheduled for a competency hearing until April.

    Sheriff Ronald Bateman said visitors to the courthouse for Stephens' trial may notice more law enforcement there. "We will have increased security," he said.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,1171734.story

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