Judge Excludes Past Escapes in Unger Murder Case

Apr 9, 2013

Merele Unger
Credit mugshot

EASTON, Md. (AP) - A Maryland judge has made rulings on evidence ahead of a new trial for a man convicted of the 1975 killing of an off-duty Hagerstown police officer.

Merle Unger is scheduled for trial in Talbot County in June after a judge granted a change of venue. Maryland's highest court ordered a new trial last year, citing a judge's flawed jury instructions.

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown says Circuit Court Judge Broughton Earnest ruled this month that prosecutors can't present evidence of Unger's prison escapes in 1976 and 1981. But the judge said statements Unger made soon after the shooting, including while at the hospital, could be used.

Unger is serving a life sentence plus 40 years for fatally shooting Donald Kline after the off-duty officer interrupted a grocery store holdup.