ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - A state prison inmate who is charged with first-degree murder in the January 2006 slaying of a Roxbury Correctional Institution officer might be forced to wear an electric "stun belt" during his trial to prevent another courtroom escape attempt, a judge said Friday.
The remote-control shocking devices have been used successfully at federal trials to restrain troublesome defendants, said Arcangelo M. Tuminelli, representing defendant Brandon T. Morris. Tuminelli said the unobtrusive belt would be invisible to jurors, unlike handcuffs and leg irons, and therefore wouldn't jeopardize Morris' right to a fair trial by potentially creating a perception of guilt.
Howard County Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney said he would consider the stun belt, as well as other safeguards proposed by prosecutors, in drafting a security plan for the trial, which likely will start in early November.
Morris, 21, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and other counts in the slaying of Roxbury Correctional Institution Officer Jeffery Alan Wroten. Wroten died Jan. 27, 2006, a day after he was shot in the face in a Washington County Hospital room where he was guarding Morris.