Pr. George's jurors hear woman's dying moments in murder trial
The woman's voice was labored, wheezing, as if she were struggling to breathe.
A moment later, the woman said, "I don't wanna die, Aaron."
A male voice is heard to respond, "Die."
Jurors and courtroom spectators in the Upper Marlboro courthouse Monday heard that exchange as they listened to an audio recording with rapt attention.
The audio was played by prosecutors as part of their case against Aaron Spriggs, who is charged with murder in the killing of his live-in girlfriend, Maris Wilkerson, 45, in June. She was shot to death. The onetime couple lived in Upper Marlboro.
The audio was captured in a voice mail at an auto parts store in San Diego. Prosecutors said a call was placed by Wilkerson's cellphone three minutes after midnight on June 26. Investigators have said they don't know whether Wilkerson placed the call intentionally.
Before the recording was played, Spriggs's defense attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, argued that it should not be used as evidence because the audio constituted an unlawful wiretap under Maryland law, which requires both parties to consent to a conversation being recorded. Gordon's motion was turned away by Circuit Court Judge Melanie Shaw Geter.
Prosecutors played all or part of the recording in court twice. The second time it was played, a woman who was sitting among Wilkerson's relatives and friends burst into tears at the sound of Wilkerson's voice and walked out of the courtroom.
Sections of the recording were difficult to hear, in large part because the incoming call was recorded at the same time as the store's outgoing greeting was heard.
Spriggs, 34, called county police to report Wilkerson missing about 27 hours after she was killed.
Wilkerson's body was found last July 7 near a road in Aquasco, a rural area south of Upper Marlboro.
-- Ruben Castaneda
May 4, 2010; 8:45 AM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse , Homicide , Pr. George's , Ruben Castaneda
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