ANNAPOLIS – Kay Cross will tell lawmakers Thursday that there is only one just sentence for the person who killed her son — the death penalty.
“That’s murder and he needs to be held accountable,” Cross said of the man who fatally shot her son, Joseph Tutz, 21, in Forestville in December 2001.
Cross and her husband Don “JC” Moats are scheduled to testify Thursday when the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee takes up seven death penalty bills, ranging from a death penalty moratorium to a bill that would require that the state seek the death penalty in any first-degree murder case.
Opponents of capital punishment got a boost this year from a University of Maryland study that found racial and geographical disparities in the application of the death penalty in the state.
But Cross and Moats, of Charles County, will tell lawmakers that the state needs to keep the ultimate sanction.
Police said Tutz died after being shot multiple times with a .40-caliber gun, including a shot to the back of the head, on Dec. 3, 2001.
Cross said she knew someone in the house was dead as she approached Tutz’s house that day and noticed that Marlboro Pike was filled with police officers, detectives and crime lab officials — but no emergency vehicles.
“I knew Joey was dead. I just knew it,” she said.
Moats had called in late to work that morning.
“I couldn’t leave the house. Something was holding me there,” he said. “When Kay called I thought someone was playing a practical joke.”
Disappointed with the response by Prince George’s County police and prosecutors, Cross and Moats hired a private investigator, posted fliers and offered a $5,000 reward for information. After months of searching, Kevin Glenn was formally charged in Tutz’s murder.
According to court records, Glenn was charged with raping a woman at gunpoint in February 2001 and he was supposed to be on “intensive supervised probation” at the time Tutz was shot. He had been released on a $20,000 bond and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation, after his attorney at the time said Glenn was not guilty due to mental defect.
Glenn’s current attorney said his client is innocent of the Tutz murder.
“Supposedly the allegations are that he murdered Joseph Tutz and I haven’t seen any evidence that would confirm that,” said Steven D. Kupferberg, the attorney.
Glenn is scheduled to go to trial in Tutz’s murder on April 28.
Prince George’s County Assistant State’s Attorney Darlene Soltys said she has recommended against seeking the death penalty in the case. A final decision has not been made, but Kupferberg agrees that capital punishment is not appropriate.
“Under no circumstances should this case be used in seeking the death penalty in any way,” said Kupferberg. “This case shouldn’t even be used in the same breath as the death penalty.”
Tutz’s older sister disagrees.
“There was no sense in what happened to him. If you’re going to commit murder . . . then something should be done,” said Stacey Moats, of Elkton, Va. “It makes me angry and sad and you should take responsibility for you actions.”
Cross, who has already lost a son in the ordeal, said she hopes she is not losing her other children as well in the family’s struggle to bring a killer to justice.
“We have five children left and you try not to suffocate them,” Cross said of the months of searching and fighting. “But no matter what you do you slap them in the face. I feel my kids no longer have a mother.”