A teen-ager who reportedly admitted involvement in a chilling carjacking-slaying in Annapolis, Md., apparently will not be tried on murder charges because Maryland’s highest court ruled that police improperly questioned him after he asked for a lawyer. The Baltimore Sun reports that in a calculated gamble, prosecutors appealed a judge’s ruling barring use of Leeander Jerome Blake’s incriminating statements at trial. Prosecutors can appeal a judge’s pretrial decisions on matters of evidence, but the case must be dismissed if they lose. “Mr. Blake gets to walk out of jail and say, ‘I got away with murder,'” said an angry Anne Arundel County prosecutor Frank Weathersbee.
The 18-year-old’s statements were the most crucial evidence against Blake in the 2002 killing of businessman Straughan Lee Griffin, 51. Yesterday’s unanimous ruling means Blake could be freed within a few weeks.
“I am not happy with this. It really has messed up everything and changed our concept of justice,” said Straughan Griffin, the victim’s father. The Maryland attorney general’s office may try to revive the case. Because the opinion centers on constitutional issues, the attorney general can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether Blake’s statements are admissible.