CRIME

Lee Stephens on trial for officer's slaying

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In a dramatic courtroom demonstration using an actual prison door taken from a cellblock at the maximum-security Maryland House of Corrections, jurors saw how inmates had learned to foil antiquated locks to come and go as they pleased.

A trial for a fallen Maryland officer reveals old cells may have made the murder easier.

The information came from prosecutors who claimed that is how inmate Lee Stephens and another prisoner were able to ambush and kill Correctional Officer David McGuinn as he made his rounds in July 2006.

An inmate who says he witnessed the murder told the court all he had to do was lift the door to open it—a stunning claim to those who have been following the trial.

“Wooo. That's dangerous that's dangerous. I cant believe that was a allowed,” said Eric Daniels-Bey, who has been watching the trial.

McGuinn's murder and another non-fatal stabbing of a guard seven months later prompted corrections officials to close the 130 year old prison in 2007. It has taken another five years for prosecutors to bring the case to court, in large part because the only witnesses are inmates who either refuse to testify or have credibility issues.

Prosecutors allege the inmates killed McGuinn because he was too by-the-book as a guard—even giving him the nickname “homeland security.”

McGuinn's widow and daughter declined comment because of a gag order. In court they quietly cried as they heard details of the death.

The state is seeking the death penalty in the case.

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