Sydnor v. State, No. 963

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtMORTON
Citation39 Md.App. 459,387 A.2d 297
Decision Date07 June 1978
Docket NumberNo. 963
PartiesJohn Bradley SYDNOR v. STATE of Maryland.

Page 459

39 Md.App. 459
387 A.2d 297
John Bradley SYDNOR
v.
STATE of Maryland.
No. 963.
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.
June 7, 1978.

[387 A.2d 299] Michael R. Malloy, Asst. Public Defender, with whom was Alan H. Murrell, Public Defender, on brief, for appellant.

F. Ford Loker, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom were Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen., Arthur A.

Page 460

Marshall, Jr., State's Atty. for Prince George's County and Leonard Casalino, Asst. State's Atty. for Prince George's County, on brief, for appellee.

Argued before MORTON, MELVIN and WILNER, JJ.

MORTON, Judge.

Appellant, John Bradley Sydnor, was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County (Couch, J., presiding) of first degree murder, first degree rape and first degree sexual offense. The court merged the rape conviction with the murder conviction and sentenced appellant to consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murder and sexual offense convictions.

Appellant contends that the trial judge erred (1) in refusing to grant his motion to suppress certain out-of-court statements he had made to the police and (2) in instructing the jury on the felony murder statute which he asserts is inapplicable to his case.

The record reveals that on the morning of November 6, 1976, Kathleen Sebastian was discovered dead on a parking lot behind a church in Prince George's County. She had been the victim of rape and a sexual offense in addition to having been severely mutilated. On the next day her abandoned car was found on a parking lot in a nearby apartment complex.

Joy Deaton, a resident of the apartment complex and former girlfriend of appellant, had been with appellant and the deceased on the night of November 5 at a local restaurant. Ms. Deaton subsequently left the restaurant alone. When she awoke on November 6 she discovered appellant asleep in her apartment. His clothing was in disarray and a large grass stain was visible on the knees of his trousers.

This information was subsequently relayed to Corporals M. K. Morrissette and T. R. Tucker of the Prince George's County Police Department who were investigating the death of Ms. Sebastian. Tests were performed on appellant's trousers and the victim's car. It was determined that a large stain discovered around the crotch of the trousers was semen and that the fingerprints found on the car matched those of appellant. Also, a zodiac medallion found near the body was

Page 461

determined to contain appellant's birth sign and Ms. Deaton identified the medallion as belonging to appellant.

On December 1, 1976, armed with the foregoing information, Morrissette and Tucker left Prince George's County and proceeded to Hollywood, Maryland, in St. Mary's County where appellant was believed to be staying with his father. They neither sought nor obtained an arrest warrant nor were they accompanied by a police officer of St. Mary's County.

Morrissette and Tucker arrived at the home of appellant's father in an unmarked police car. While Morrissette spoke to appellant's father, Tucker identified himself to appellant. He told appellant that he wanted to speak to him concerning the death of Kathleen Sebastian. He then requested appellant to accompany the officers back to Prince George's County. Appellant agreed and, after carrying some packages from his father's truck into the house, got into the back seat of the police car. On the ride to Prince George's County, Tucker advised appellant of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), and briefly described the information the police had obtained in the case thus far. Morrissette did not speak to appellant.

Upon arriving at the police station in Prince George's County, Morrissette identified himself and interviewed appellant. After reviewing with appellant all of the information that had been assembled, Morrissette asked appellant if he had any knowledge concerning the death of Kathleen Sebastian. Appellant indicated that he did. Morrissette had appellant read and [387 A.2d 300] sign a waiver of rights form after which he took appellant's statement. Appellant described having had intercourse with Ms. Sebastian on the night in question and thereafter running over her with her car. It was this statement that was the object of appellant's unsuccessful motion to suppress.

Appellant first contends "that the action of the two police officers in taking him into custody in St. Mary's County constituted an arrest," one that they were not empowered to make since they were police officers of Prince George's County. Appellant posits that his confession, being the fruit

Page 462

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5 practice notes
  • Perez v. State Of Md., No. 1719
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 1, 2010
    ...staying inside the apartment for about twenty minutes, then exited through a window, without his shirt. Our decision in Sydnor v. State, 39 Md.App. 459, 387 A.2d 297 (1978), is instructive. In Sydnor, two Prince George's County Police Officers, after collecting evidence indicating that Sydn......
  • Cotton v. State, No. 29
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • April 11, 2005
    ...there has been an arrest, or even a custodial interrogation. Cummings v. State, 27 Md.App. 361, 341 A.2d 294 (1975); Sydnor v. State, 39 Md.App. 459, 387 A.2d 297 (1978); Com. v. Alicea, 376 Mass. 506, 381 N.E.2d 144, 149-50 (1978); People v. Wipfler, 68 Ill.2d 158, 11 Ill.Dec. 262, 368 N.E......
  • State v. Jones, No. 720
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • April 7, 1982
    ...of the subtitle in 1976, the crime of rape existed only at common law in Maryland and was not divided into degrees. Sydnor v. State, 39 Md.App. 459, 387 A.2d 297 (1978). What now constitutes first degree rape is as § 462. First degree rape. (a) What constitutes.-A person is guilty of rape i......
  • IN The COURT Of SPECIAL APPEALS v. State Of Md., No. 1719
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 1, 2010
    ...staying inside the apartment for about twenty minutes, then exited through a window, without his shirt. Our decision in Sydnor v. State, 39 Md. App. 459 (1978), is instructive. In Sydnor, two Prince George's County Police Officers, after collecting evidence indicating that Sydnor had been a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Perez v. State Of Md., No. 1719
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 1, 2010
    ...staying inside the apartment for about twenty minutes, then exited through a window, without his shirt. Our decision in Sydnor v. State, 39 Md.App. 459, 387 A.2d 297 (1978), is instructive. In Sydnor, two Prince George's County Police Officers, after collecting evidence indicating that Sydn......
  • Cotton v. State, No. 29
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • April 11, 2005
    ...there has been an arrest, or even a custodial interrogation. Cummings v. State, 27 Md.App. 361, 341 A.2d 294 (1975); Sydnor v. State, 39 Md.App. 459, 387 A.2d 297 (1978); Com. v. Alicea, 376 Mass. 506, 381 N.E.2d 144, 149-50 (1978); People v. Wipfler, 68 Ill.2d 158, 11 Ill.Dec. 262, 368 N.E......
  • State v. Jones, No. 720
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • April 7, 1982
    ...of the subtitle in 1976, the crime of rape existed only at common law in Maryland and was not divided into degrees. Sydnor v. State, 39 Md.App. 459, 387 A.2d 297 (1978). What now constitutes first degree rape is as § 462. First degree rape. (a) What constitutes.-A person is guilty of rape i......
  • IN The COURT Of SPECIAL APPEALS v. State Of Md., No. 1719
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 1, 2010
    ...staying inside the apartment for about twenty minutes, then exited through a window, without his shirt. Our decision in Sydnor v. State, 39 Md. App. 459 (1978), is instructive. In Sydnor, two Prince George's County Police Officers, after collecting evidence indicating that Sydnor had been a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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