Testimony in the abortion clinic bombing conspiracy trial of Michael Donald Bray of Bowie was completed today without Bray taking the stand in his own defense. The case is expected to go to the federal jury here Tuesday.
Bray's decision to remain silent came almost a week after Thomas Eugene Spinks, a codefendant who has pleaded guilty in the bombings, testified against Bray, adding that Bray would never testify.
Spinks' claim that Bray accompanied him to two bombings and provided support for eight others fueled speculation among spectators in the packed courtroom last week over whether Bray would attempt to counter Spinks' testimony with his own. If he had testified, he would have faced a barrage of hostile cross-examination by federal prosecutors.
"He's guilty just like me," Spinks testified May 14. "Let him take the witness stand and say he's innocent. He won't do it. He can't."
When the case goes to the jury of seven men and five women Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Harvey II will instruct the panel that it should draw no inferences from Bray's silence.
Bray, a house painter and lay pastor of a Lutheran church splinter group, was indicted last January along with Spinks, 37, and a third man, Kenneth William Shields, 34, of Laurel, on conspiracy charges in the nighttime bombings of 10 abortion clinics and related facilities in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Delaware in 1984 and early 1985.
Property damage was extensive, but no injuries were reported. Spinks, who pleaded guilty May 3, will be sentenced in about three weeks. Shields is scheduled for trial June 3.
Bray's defense, led by Washington lawyer Robert Muse, was completed today with a series of character witnesses, including Bray's wife. All praised Bray, 32, as peaceful and compassionate.
Under cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Mathias, Jane Bray denied that a series of 17 letters she sent to Spinks while he was in jail after his arrest were designed to encourage him to resist pleading guilty under pressure from investigators.
She said, for example, that when she urged him to "resist temptations by the evil one to give in and say what's the use," she was discouraging Spinks from possible suicide because of inhumane conditions in jail and unrelenting questioning by investigators.
"I know what you did to him," she said, looking at Mathias. "You called him and hounded him and questioned him and questioned him," allegedly telling him he might never see his family again unless he pleaded guilty.