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Judge denies Bingaman's appeal in baby's death

Man had sought new trial in 2007 slaying of girlfriend's 4-month-old son

December 29, 2010|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Floyd Edward Bingaman III is led away from Washington County Courthouse after the first day of his trial in November 2007 in the death of Justice Christopher Calvin Myers-Cannon.
File photo

HAGERSTOWN — Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley this week denied the post-conviction petition of a man seeking a new trial in the 2007 death of his former girlfriend's infant.

Floyd Edward Bingaman III, 24, formerly of Hagerstown, was convicted in November 2007 of first-degree child abuse resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter in the Jan. 6, 2007, death of 4-month-old Justice Christopher Calvin Myers-Cannon, according to court documents.

Bingaman was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and his subsequent appeals to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and the Maryland Court of Appeals were denied, court documents said.

The baby died two days after sustaining head injuries while in Bingaman's care. A physcian testified in the 2007 trial that the injuries were consistent with severe shaking or blunt force trauma.

A jury found Bingaman not guilty of first-degree or second-degree murder, court records said.

In October, Bingaman was back in court for a post-conviction relief hearing, asking the court to grant him a new trial, alleging 10 instances of ineffectiveness of counsel and five instances of prosecutorial misconduct.

Among Bingaman's claims in the petition filed by current attorney Jason Shoemaker were that his trial counsel, Scott L. Rolle, unilaterally waived his right to a speedy trial.

Beachley wrote in his 30-page opinion dated Tuesday that the postponement of trial past 180 days from his initial court appearance was based on a joint motion by the prosecution and defense. In that motion, Rolle requested additional time to select and expert witness, Beachley wrote.

Rolle failed to file a motion for judgment of acquittal based on insufficient evidence, Bingaman alleged. The claim was found to be without merit by the Court of Special Appeals because evidence in the trial was sufficient to support the convictions, Beachley wrote.

Bingaman's petition claimed his attorney failed to call critical defense witnesses, or to present evidence of possible earlier injuries. The state's expert witnesses testified about evidence of earlier injuries sustained by the child during both direct examination by the prosecution and cross-examination by Rolle, Beachley wrote.

Beachley rejected allegations by Bingaman that the prosecutor in the trial, Robert Veil, made misleading statements to the jury during closing arguments and that the state failed to disclose evidence in its possession that was material to the defense.

Regarding the disclosure of evidence, specifically medical records and the results of a polygraph examination of a potential witness, Beachley noted in his opinion that State's Attorney Charles P. Strong Jr. had called his office's legal secretary, Alicia Bowers, during the October hearing to testify and provide documentation that copies of the reports had been made for the defense.

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