Logan avoids death penalty in deputies' murder trial
Nov. 14, 2003
Sonsyrea Tate
Staff Writer

County prosecutors earlier this week hailed the conviction of a man who killed two deputy sheriffs as a step in the right direction.

"It is a first step in our efforts to hold those responsible in the murders of our brave men and women in law enforcement," said Deputy State's Attorney Bob Dean, who fought defense attorney's efforts to rule the murderer not responsible for his actions by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for James Ramiah Logan, charged with the August 2002 fatal shootings of deputies James V. Arnaud and Elizabeth L. Magruder while they were serving a Petitioner for Emergency Evaluation on the alleged assailant. A jury convicted Logan Monday on two counts of second-degree murder.

Logan, 25, a High Point High School graduate, faces up to 100 years in jail for these offenses. Because the jury chose to convict on the second-degree murder charges instead of first-degree murder charges, Logan will no longer face the death penalty.

Logan also was convicted on two counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. It took jurors more than 10 hours in deliberations over three days to come up with the verdict.

Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey added, "We are pleased with the verdict reached today. It culminates months of hard work on the part of our prosecutors.

"We want to help the family feel some sense of closure and justice. We believe this verdict reflects the facts in the case and takes into account that the defendant should be held responsible for his actions," he said.

The courtroom was packed for closing arguments last week. Observers included family and friends of the murderer and the slain, as well as employees from the Sheriff's office.

Defense attorney Fred Bennett insisted his client was suffering from "hallucinations, delusions, and a pre-occupation with religion," which effected his influence more than the cocaine and marijuana Logan admitted to using on a daily basis.

"The crucial issue is pre-meditation. [Prosecutors] want you to believe that his life was in a tailspin and reached a crescendo on Aug. 29, [202]," Bennett said. "Pre-meditation means there was enough time for him to consider whether or not to kill and to weigh reasons for and against the choice.

"He weighed only one reasoning: God told me to do it. Therefore, I must."

Bennett asked the jury to sentence Logan to a psychiatric facility rather than a prison.

Assistant State's Attorney John Maloney asked jurors to let the healing begin.

"The defendant has caused a lot of pain, no doubt about that. The pain was caused because he got high and he killed," Maloney said. "It's time for healing, and healing begins with justice. Please hold him responsible for his actions."

Circuit Court Judge E. Allen Shepherd scheduled Dec. 12 as Logan's sentencing date.

E-mail Sonsyrea Tate at state@gazette.net.