Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Police: Verbal abuse was likely motive in stabbing

Silver Spring man accused in June 19 killing of Laurel man

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A police detective testified Friday that a Silver Spring man accused of fatally stabbing a 34-year-old Laurel man said witnesses told police he was upset with the victim for verbally abusing his aunt.

Eric Jerome Wills, 21, of the 3400 block of Robey Terrace is charged with first-degree murder in the June 19 death of Lamont Coley, who was killed outside his apartment.

Laurel police detective Sgt. Carl DeWalt, testifying at the preliminary hearing for suspect Eric Jerome Wills, said the victim had been dating Wills’ aunt.

At the hearing Friday in Prince George’s County District Court, Judge Hassan Ali El-Amin sent the case to a grand jury, which will decide whether to indict Wills, and if it does, on what charges.

Wills is also charged with second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and possession of a dangerous weapon.

Coley, who sustained four stab wounds to his back, died at Laurel Regional Hospital about an hour after police found him bleeding and gasping for breath in the Summerlyn Place apartments parking lot.

Witnesses reported seeing Wills with a five-inch folding knife, DeWalt testified. Police were still seeking a murder weapon late last week.

Defense attorney John Pikulski tried to question DeWalt about a handgun recovered from a police witness and about alleged alcohol use near the crime scene.

Wills was released July 17 on $50,000 bond.

He was accompanied by two male and female family members, who declined to identify themselves further.

Wills, the family members and Pikulski all declined to comment after the hearing.