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Evidence barred in Md. murder trial

A judge barred prosecutors Thursday from showing jurors a photo of a former Frostburg State University student proudly displaying a shotgun he allegedly used later to kill a school basketball player.

The picture of Tyrone B. Hall, 21, of Glen Burnie, was one of two pieces of state's evidence Allegany County Circuit Judge W. Timothy Finan threw out during a pretrial motions hearing Thursday.

The other was a next-door neighbor's statement that he heard gunfire from Hall's off-campus residence several weeks before Hall allegedly murdered Brandon M. Carroll of Waldorf and wounded Ellis E. Hartridge Jr. of Washington, D.C., there early on April 18.

State's Attorney Michael Twigg argued the evidence reflected Hall's “reckless disregard” for the 12-gauge shotgun he had purchased six weeks earlier, ostensibly for hunting.

But Finan ruled that the photo, taken on an unknown date, and the neighbor's statement about shots fired by an unknown person would unfairly prejudice a jury.

Hall, who has been on home confinement since posting $300,000 bail in early June, is claiming self-defense, defense attorney William A. Mitchell said.

Hall told police he fired when the men lunged at him during an argument about a woman with whom Hartridge was also involved. The woman, former Frostburg State student Patrice Britton, told Hartridge that Hall had assaulted her at a party earlier that night, Detective Eric Rice testified.

Hall told police Britton had pushed him after she saw him dancing with another woman. A small scuffle ensued, and Hall was kicked out of the party, according to court records.

Britton and Hartridge are former roommates whose stormy relationship included mutual applications in December for protective orders that they both later dismissed.

Finan deferred his ruling Thursday on a state's motion to bar the defense from using Britton's application, in which she claimed Hartridge had repeatedly pushed and choked her.

The defense indicated it might argue that Hall knew about Hartridge's alleged violence, giving Hall good reason to arm himself.

“The idea would be this person was coming over to do some serious damage to him,” Mitchell said.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  |  September 10, 2010; 7:53 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Homicide , Maryland , Schools , Updates  
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