Today was supposed to be the day that Donald Wayne Bricker was sentenced to prison for the senseless murder of 22-year-old Germantown resident Mariam Shade Adebayo in June of 2015. The murder took place in a crowded parking lot in front of the Target store in Germantown. However last week the 27-year-old Bricker filed a motion to fire his attorney and wants to recant his confession.
In court today, Montgomery Circuit Judge Joseph Dugan heard Bricker’s motion to fire his defense attorney, Gary Gerstenfield. Bricker believes that his attorney did not completely inform him of all the evidence against in him the crime and wishes to replace Gerstenfield.
Bricker, of Hagerstown, entered a plea of guilty of the murder of Adebayo back in December. He has also filed a motion to withdraw that guilty plea. Bricker now wants to have a trial before being sent to prison.
While allowing Bricker to fire his attorney, Judge Dugan did not take up the issue of the guilty plea withdrawal. Judge Dugan made it clear to Bricker that if he fired his attorney, it would seriously jeopardize the attorney-client privilege, meaning that the prosecution could call Gerstenfield—who was the private attorney hired by Bricker—to testify against his former client.
Indeed, in court today, Gerstenfield asked Bricker if he understood the implications that his former attorney could be called to stand and compelled under contempt of court order to offer testimony that would incriminate his former client. “Once Mr. Gerstenfield is no longer your attorney,” said Judge Dugan to Bricker, “there may or may not be a way to limit the information which he may testify to at future proceedings.”
To which Bricker responded, “I don’t think there is no more evidence that is more incriminating than the video of the crime.” Bricker was referring to the video from surveillance cameras in the Target Store parking lot which clearly shows Bricker shooting Adebayo.
At the plea hearing in December, Judge Dugan explained what rights Bricker would be giving up by not going to trial and asked Bricker a series of questions to make sure Bricker was fully aware of his decision to plead guilty. One of those questions was; Was he at that moment under the influence of any illegal drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol? “No,” Bricker said.
He asked Bricker whether he was satisfied with the services of his defense attorney, to which Bricker said, “Yes.”
Bricker is now saying that he was high on prescription drugs at the time of the plea hearing and that he is unhappy with attorney Gerstenfield’s representation alleging that the lawyer did not show him enough documents and case evidence to help him make a good decision.
In court on today, prior to being removed from the case, Gerstenfield asked Bricker similar questions about his mental state and whether he was on any sort of drugs prescribed or illicit. Bricker again answered no.
Judge Dugan explained that Bricker had the option to either privately hire another attorney, if he had the means, or to use the public defender’s office if he qualified for such services.
Dugan order another status hearing in the case for May 5, suggesting that Bricker should have is family get moving if they plan to hire another attorney.
According to police, multiple witnesses at the scene observed an altercation in a vehicle between Adebayo and Bricker. Witnesses stated that at some point during the altercation, Adebayo exited the vehicle to get away from Bricker. Bricker followed holding a handgun. Bricker fired the gun in the direction of Adebayo, and she fell to the ground. Bricker was then observed walking up to Adebayo and shooting her again. Bricker then fled the scene in a white, older model, Ford Ranger pickup truck.
The gun Bricker used to kill Adebayo was an antique model handgun which Bricker had purchased through the mail.
At Bricker’s bail hearing back in June, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah W. Feinstein said that because Bricker, a convicted sex offender and could not legally purchase a firearm, he used a loophole in the law to order a replica antique “black powder” gun online and had it delivered through the mail. The purchase of antique firearms and replicas of antique guns is not regulated. Bricker had previously purchased 100 rounds of ammunition for the antique firearm and practiced firing it at least once before going to meet Adebayo in the parking lot, said Feinstein, in June.
After the shooting, Bricker led police on a high-speed chase on the rural roads in far western Montgomery County, according to police reports heard over a police scanner. In Dickerson, the suspect began heading south on Rt. 28 with officers in pursuit. Pursuing officers communicated over the radio that the suspect reached speeds of 80- or 90-miles per hour as he sped eastbound on Rt. 28 before crashing.
Bricker was apprehended after his vehicle was involved in a single-vehicle collision between Black Rock Road and Whites Ferry Road.
Bricker is a registered sex offender after a 2008 conviction for Sexual Offense in the Third Degree in Washington County, which means sexual contact without the consent of the victim, along with an aggravating factor, like causing or putting in fear of serious physical injury. A Third Degree Sexual Offense also includes sexual contact with a mentally disabled victim or victim under age 14 with the perpetrator being four years older, or a sexual act with victim 14- or 15-years old.
File Photos by Germantown Pulse and courtesy MCPD.