Judge Imposes 4 Consecutive Life Sentences Without Parole for Baltimore Man Who Ordered Murder of Witness
Patrick Byers Used Contraband Cell Phone from Jail to Arrange Murder of a Witness for Payment of $2,500
Total of Eight Defendants Convicted for Murdering “A Hero Who Deserves to be Remembered”
Baltimore, Maryland - A twelve-person federal jury voted today to impose a sentence of life in prison without parole on Patrick Albert Byers, Jr., age 24, of Baltimore and U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett then sentenced Byers to four consecutive life sentences for arranging the murder of Carl Stanley Lackl on July 2, 2007, in order to prevent Mr. Lackl from testifying against Byers in a Baltimore City trial, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. On April 17, the jury had found Byers guilty on charges of conspiracy to use telephones in the commission of a murder-for-hire; use of telephones in a murder-for-hire; conspiracy to murder a witness; murder of a witness; and use of a firearm in a murder.
“Carl Lackl was a hero who deserves to be remembered,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “He knelt to comfort a dying man, he called police to report a murder, and he stepped forward to protect other citizens from a violent armed criminal.”
“Whatever is the most serious punishment available, that is what you will get if you attack a witness,” Mr. Rosenstein added. “We ask for the most serious punishment in the most serious cases.”
“Witnesses are a necessary and important part of the judicial process, and we will continue to seek justice for whoever stands in their way,” says ATF Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop. “We hope that today's verdict will instill a sense of peace for the Lackl family, so they can move forward with their lives, and feel a sense that justice has been served.”
In federal cases, the decision whether to ask for the death penalty is made by the U.S. Attorney General.
According to testimony at the four week trial, Byers and Frank Goodman conspired to commit the murder-for-hire of Carl Stanley Lackl in Baltimore County because Mr. Lackl was an eyewitness to the March 4, 2006 murder of Larry Haynes committed by Byers in Baltimore City.
Byers, while in the city jail awaiting trial for the murder of Mr. Haynes, used a contraband cell phone to contact Goodman and offer to pay $2,500 for the murder of Mr. Lackl. On July 2, 2007, Goodman recruited co-conspirator Marcus Pearson to murder Mr. Lackl, and provided Pearson with Mr. Lackl’s name, address and phone number.
Pearson discussed the plan with Byers over the telephone and agreed to commit the murder. Pearson contacted fellow Bloods gang member and co-conspirator Steven Thompson, who referred Pearson to co-conspirator Jonathan Cornish, a junior member of the Bloods. Cornish agreed to participate in the murder. Michael Randle, another Bloods gang member and co-conspirator, also agreed to participate in the murder.
Pearson and co-conspirator Ronald Williams obtained a loaded .44 magnum handgun and gave it to Cornish. Pearson, Cornish, Randle and Williams then drove to Mr. Lackl’s home, where they lured him outside his home by making telephone calls inquiring about a car Mr. Lackl had offered for sale. Cornish shot Mr. Lackl three times, killing him. After the murder, the conspirators met in east Baltimore, where Goodman paid Pearson for the murder on behalf of Byers.
Shortly before his federal trial, Byers used another contraband cell phone from jail to intimidate another witness into recanting his testimony at the federal trial. On March 17, 2009, while jury selection was underway, a cell phone was found hidden under Byers’ mattress. The witness, who had also identified Byers as the gunman in the murder of Mr. Haynes, did recant his testimony at trial.
A total of eight defendants have been convicted in the murder of Carl Lackl.
Frank Keith Goodman, age 23, of Baltimore, was convicted at trial along with Byers and faces a mandatory penalty of life in prison for each count of conspiracy to use telephones in the commission of a murder-for-hire; use of a firearm in a murder; conspiracy to murder a witness; and murder of a witness. Goodman faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison for use of a firearm in a murder. Judge Bennett scheduled Goodman’s sentencing for July 17, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
Co-defendants Steven Thompson, a/k/a L-Tigga, Trigger, age 28; and Michael Jerome Randle, a/k/a L-Killa, age 20, both of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty and face a maximum penalty of life in prison for using telephones in the commission of a murder-for-hire.
Co-conspirators Jonathan Cornish, age 17, a gang member paid to kill Lackl, and Marcus Pearson, age 28, who was hired to coordinate the killing, pleaded guilty and face a maximum sentence of life in prison for their roles in Mr. Lackl’s murder. Ronald Williams, age 23, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to use of a gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime causing death and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Baltimore County Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and his office and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy and her office for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys John Purcell and Bryan Giblin, who are prosecuting the case.