- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2000

LA PLATA, Md. Many prospective jurors in a death-penalty trial moved to this country town said yesterday they had not heard of the murder involving a bail bondsman and two prostitutes one of whom is a transvestite.
That's the main reason the trial of Dean J. "Dino" Pantazes, accused of having his wife killed, was moved from Prince George's County.
But the witnesses and evidence which includes an audio clip from a Beavis and Butt-head movie might be a disadvantage in the mostly rural communities of Charles County, which is generally regarded as conservative.
"This trial is of gravest importance to the defendant, and to the state of Maryland," said Circuit Judge James J. Lombardi as selection began for a 12-member jury and three alternates.
Mr. Pantazes, 45, a bail bondsman for more than 20 years, is on trial on charges of first-degree murder and hiring Jermel Ladonna Chambers, 35, a convicted D.C. prostitute, to kill his wife.
If the jury convicts Mr. Pantazes, it then will hear more testimony and decide whether he should be sentenced to death or spend life in prison.
Chambers, who has tried to back out of a plea bargain, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and a handgun violation. She is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 15, after she appears as a key witness against Mr. Pantazes.
Another prosecution witness is a transvestite known both as Kevin Young and Kim Young. In a pretrial hearing, Mr. Young testified that a man he knew as "Steve," whom he identified as Mr. Pantazes, tried to hire him to kill the wife of his boss.
Usually dressed as a woman, Mr. Young testified that he works as a prostitute along the Prince George's County-D.C. line and "dated" Mr. Pantazes five or six times for money.
Assistant Prince George's State's Attorneys Robert Dean and John M. Maloney also will attempt to introduce as evidence a 22-second audio clip from a 1996 cartoon movie "Beavis and Butt-head Do America" from Mr. Pantazes' laptop computer. In the clip, a character offers Beavis and Butt-head $10,000 to "do" his wife.
Defense attorneys William C. Brennan and Harry J. Trainor claim that the clip is irrelevant. Judge Lombardi is expected to rule on that motion before opening arguments, probably tomorrow morning.
Selection of the jury is expected to be completed today.
Prince George's police found Clara Pantazes, 46, dead from a gunshot wound to her head, lying on the garage floor of their home in Upper Marlboro. Her husband of more than 20 years said he called police after coming home for lunch and finding his wife's body.
Police say Chambers said she got the gun from inside the house as arranged by a man she knew as "Steve." Phone records obtained by police showed a call was made from Mrs. Pantazes' mobile phone to Mr. Pantazes' mobile phone that morning, 20 minutes after what police estimate was the time of her death.
A list of about 125 potential witnesses include former prosecutor James Papermeister and Democratic Delegate Joseph F. Vallario Jr., who first represented Mr. Pantazes; private detective Sharon Weidenfeld, and former Prince George's County Council member Sue Mills.
Chambers's police record indicates she has used the last names of Waller and Walker. She was convicted of robbery in 1988 and attempted possession of cocaine in 1990. She was arrested for sexual solicitation as recently as 1994 and arrested for simple assault in 1996.

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