- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — The state’s highest court has granted a stay to a death row inmate who had been scheduled to be put to death by injection sometime during the week of April 18.

Vernon Evans Jr. had asked the Court of Appeals for more time to argue that his sentence should be overturned because of racial and geographical disparities in Maryland’s application of the death penalty.

The court scheduled oral arguments on the matter for June 7.

Evans was sentenced to death for the April 1983 killing of David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy at the Warren House Motor Hotel in Pikesville.

In seeking a stay, Evans’ attorneys noted that the court has agreed to hear an appeal from death row inmate Wesley E. Baker in June.

Both Evans and Baker, as well as two other death row inmates, have asked the courts to overturn their sentences based on a January 2003 study by University of Maryland professor Raymond Paternoster that had been commissioned by the General Assembly.

Mr. Paternoster found that blacks accused of killing whites statistically were most likely to be charged with capital murder and sentenced to death on conviction in Maryland. He also found that the likelihood of prosecutors seeking capital murder charges in Baltimore County is 13 times greater than in Baltimore city.

Evans and Baker are black. The victims in their cases, all of whom were white, were killed in Baltimore County.

Baker was convicted in 1992 of fatally shooting a teacher’s aide in front of her grandchildren in the parking lot of a Catonsville shopping center.

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