- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

BALTIMORE (AP) — A man accused of killing three homeless men in what he called “bum stomping” was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without parole.

Harold “Jay” Waterbury, 20, was convicted in November of first-degree murder in the April 2001 killing of Gerald Holle, 55, a transient from San Francisco who was living under a South Baltimore bridge.

“This was a systematic cleansing … to kill homeless people in and around South Baltimore,” Judge M. Brooke Murdock said as she handed down the sentence in Baltimore Circuit Court. “Mr. Waterbury is a danger to our community.”

Prosecutors said Waterbury was one of a group of young men who beat homeless men in their neighborhood until they died or left the area. They used baseball bats, a crowbar, a steel pole and wooden sticks in the attacks and were charged after bragging about the crimes.

Bernard Gorham, 66, testified yesterday that in February 2001 three men hit him in the head with a champagne bottle and a large branch as he slept in a cardboard box under a South Baltimore bridge.

Mr. Gorham said outside the courtroom that Waterbury hit him, though he didn’t identify him under oath — and wasn’t asked to do so by prosecutors.

Mr. Gorham said the men told him during the beating that people called them “knockers” because “we knock people in the head.”

In a tearful, rambling speech to the judge before his sentencing, Waterbury said, “I ain’t did what she said I did,” referring to prosecutor Michelle Grunwell.

Miss Grunwell declined to comment after the sentencing.

Waterbury’s attorney, Angela Shelton, also declined to comment, but said in court that Waterbury was easily manipulated by friends.

Two other men charged in Mr. Holle’s death have also been sentenced.

Michael Farmer, 21, of Garden City, Kan., pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 2002 and received a life sentence. He also pleaded guilty in the bludgeoning death of 46-year-old George Williams.

Daniel Ennis, 19, pleaded guilty in May 2003 to second-degree murder and received a 20-year prison sentence.

Waterbury was also charged in the fatal beatings of Mr. Williams and a third homeless man, Harry Lawhorn, 47.

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