Two Convicted in Death of Jay Bias, Brother of Late Basketball Star
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) _ A jury Tuesday convicted two men on murder charges in the death of James Stanley ″Jay″ Bias III, younger brother of the late University of Maryland basketball star and cocaine victim Len Bias.
After more than four hours of deliberation the panel returned verdicts of premediated first-degree murder against Jerry Tyler, 20, of Temple Hills, Md., and second-degree murder against Gerald Eiland, 25, of nearby Washington, D.C.
Both defendants were acquitted of charges they attempted to kill two men who were with Bias when he was shot, and Eiland was acquited of first-degree murder.
Tyler could be sentenced to life in prison and Eiland to 50 years.
Police said Tyler shot Bias twice in the back last Dec. 4 as Bias was being driven away from a Hyattsville shopping mall, shortly after the two men had an argument in a jewelry store.
Tyler accused Bias of flirting with his wife, a clerk in the store, investigators said. The wife, Shaunelle Tyler, testified that Bias, whom she had known in high school, had recently asked if he could come see her, a request to which she said she did not respond.
Prosecutors contended Tyler pulled the trigger and Eiland was driving the car Tyler was riding. Each defendant claimed the other opened fire, however.
Bias died in the same emergency room where his brother Len Bias was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest brought on by cocaine ingestion in 1986, one day after he had been drafted by the Boston Celtics.
In his closing argument, Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Foley said Bias ″was not the angry man. ... He’s not the man spoiling for a fight.″
Foley also discounted Eiland’s argument that he did not know what Tyler was going to do.
″Mr. Eiland ... knows his friend is upset,″ Foley said. ″They have a gun at the ready ... there’s no fumbling in the glove compartment.″
Tyler’s attorney, Victor Houlon, conceded that his client was angry. But, he said, ″My client was provoked to run his mouth, but not to murder.″
Eiland attorney Alan Goldstein said of his client, ″We felt the jury had enough to find him not guilty, and we’re disappointed.″
Foley said: ″I was ecstatic with the verdict. It’s nice to live in a country where everyone can get a fair trial.″