United States Seeks the Death Penalty in Connection with the 2007 Murder-for-Hire of Witness Carl Lackl
Baltimore, Maryland - The United States Attorney’s Office today filed a notice stating that it will seek the death penalty in the prosecution of Patrick Albert Byers, Jr., age 23, of Baltimore, for the murder of Carl Stanley Lackl on July 2, 2007. A superseding indictment returned today alleges that Byers and his co-defendants committed the murder-for-hire of Mr. Lackl in Baltimore County because he was an eyewitness to a murder committed by Byers in Baltimore City, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “The decision whether to seek the death penalty for a defendant accused of murder is made by the Attorney General of the United States after carefully considering the defendant’s background and the circumstances of the crime.”
Frank Keith Goodman, age 22; Steven Thompson, a/k/a L-Tigga, Trigger, age 27; and
Michael Jerome Randle, a/k/a L-Killa, age 19, all of Baltimore, face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
According to the allegations in the nine count superseding indictment, the co-conspirators murdered Mr. Lackl on July 2, 2007 in order to prevent him from testifying against Byers in a Baltimore City Circuit Court case and in other proceedings involving Byers’s alleged possession of a handgun on March 4, 2006. Byers, who was in the City Jail at the time of the murder, offered to pay $2,500 for the murder of Mr. Lackl. The superseding indictment alleges that Byers used a contraband cellphone to contact other members of the conspiracy to kill Mr. Lackl.
The superseding indictment alleges that on July 2, 2007, conspiracy members obtained a loaded .44 magnum handgun and went to Mr. Lackl’s home, where a co-conspirator used the gun to shoot Mr. Lackl three times, resulting in his death. After the murder, conspiracy members met in east Baltimore where a co-conspirator who traveled to Mr. Lackl’s residence was paid for the murder on behalf of Byers.
The charges include conspiracy to use telephones in the commission of a murder-for-hire; use of telephones in a murder-for-hire; use of a firearm in a murder; conspiracy to murder a witness; murder of a witness; and conspiracy to use a firearm in a crime of violence. The superseding indictment adds two counts, charging Byers with illegally possessing a firearm on March 4, 2006, having previously been convicted of a felony crime; and use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
When a defendant is charged in federal court with a crime potentially subject to the death penalty, the ultimate decision whether to seek the death penalty is made by the Attorney General of the United States. If the Attorney General decides in favor of seeking the death penalty, the United States Attorney files a notice identifying the factors that the government proposes to prove as justifying a sentence of death. The notice of the government’s intention to seek the death penalty against Byers filed today specifies the factors that may justify the death penalty for Patrick Byers, including that the murder of Mr. Lackl was committed in exchange for a promise of payment and that it involved substantial planning.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. A person charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.