The trial of Paul Wersick, the 16-year-old Wheaton youth charged with murder in the death of a Montgomery County tax assessor, began yesterday with the prosecution using two fingerprints, a boy scout neckerchief, a wallet and a bullet in an effort to link Wersick to the July slaying.
In a low-key opening statement, Assistant State's Attorney Larry Ceppos told the jury, "You will be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that Paul Wersick in the course of a robbery fired a .38-caliber bullet through the head of George Angerman, that he took the wallet and killed that man."
Wersick has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to the charge that he fatally shot assessor George E. Angerman Jr. during a robbery on July 10 in an underground parking garage in Rockville.
Ceppos said police found two fingerprints belonging to Wersick inside the window of the car in which Angerman's body was discovered.
Ceppos said he would show that police searching Wersick's apartment after the killing found a holster belonging to an officer whose house had been burglarized, and a boy scout uniform with no neckerchief. Angerman had been found gagged with a red bandanna.
Defense attorney James McKenna made no opening statement.
The first witness, attorney William A. Ehrmantraut, testified that, while parking his car in the garage on the July 10, "I hear groaning or grunting noises coming from the gray vehicle," but, he said, feeling "uncomfortable" he left the garage. Angerman's body was found in a silver Mercury Capri.
Montgomery County detectives Jan Hutchison and Robert McKenna testified that police searched a wooded area where a county employe had found Angerman's wallet. While searching the area, near Wersick's home on Veirs Mill Road, Wersick walked by and talked to police on his way to a bank.
McKenna said police asked if he was from the area and if he had seen anyone. "He said he didn't hang out there," McKenna testified.
"He said he was going to get a money order to send away for a Darth Vader mask," McKenna said.
Fifteen minutes after returning from his trip. McKenna testified, Wersick reappeared with a camera and some carrots and "asked permission to go down the path [where the wallet was found] to take pictures of his pet groundhog." McKenna said.
A few days later, when McKenna arrived at Wersick's house to arrest him, "[Wersick] was quiet, calm . . . He followed our directions, didn't give us any trouble."