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Police describe attempts to interview Pryor

March 30, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- A hearing to suppress statements made by Douglas Wayne Pryor before his upcoming death penalty trial continued Monday in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Monday's proceedings centered on a police investigator's interview with Pryor in Washington County Hospital on Dec. 20, 2007.

Pryor is charged with first-degree murder in the Dec. 19, 2007, stabbing death of his former girlfriend, Alison Munson, and in the shooting death later that day of Smithsburg Police Officer Christopher Nicholson.

Pryor, who afterward was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police, could face the death penalty if convicted in Nicholson's death.

Washington County Sheriff's Department Investigator Kenny Barnhart testified Monday that when he and another investigator initially tried to interview Pryor on Dec. 20, Pryor was in a medically induced coma.

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Pryor woke up later that day, and the investigators returned to talk to Pryor, Barnhart said. When they asked him if he killed Officer Christopher Nicholson, Pryor "shook his head yes," Barnhart.

Barnhart, under cross-examination by a defense attorney, testified that when Pryor was asked if he meant to kill the officer, Pryor shook his head no.

Munson was found dead in her home on Maple Leaf Court in Halfway Manor at about 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2007.

After her body was found, Washington County Sheriff's deputies headed for Pryor's house on Welty Church Road near Smithsburg, and the Smithsburg Police Department was asked for assistance.

Nicholson, the only officer on duty, responded and was waiting for backup in a driveway off Welty Church Road when he was fatally shot.

The pre-trial hearings in the case began last week.

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