South West Baltimore – This month, Gold Leroy Bass, Jr., 69, was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences plus two concurrent five-year sentences without parole for the first-degree murders of Harry McGee and Nathaniel Sheppard on December 21, 1973. In 2017—41 years since receiving both original life sentences in 1976—Bass was granted a new trial under Maryland’s landmark Unger ruling. This year, a jury found Mr. Bass guilty of first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence.
Assistant State’s Attorney David F. Owens prosecuted this case.
On December 21, 1973, Gold Leroy Bass, Jr met up with a 17-year old friend in the 2200 block of North Ellamont Street. Upon Bass’s request, the friend agreed to take a ride with Bass before both men got into the backseat of a green car. Bass sat behind the driver, Harry McGee and the friend sat behind Nathaniel Sheppard who sat in the front passenger seat. Once the vehicle was parked behind the Wakefield Apartment complex in the 4900 block of Challedon Road, the driver asked Bass if he had bought money to purchase a large amount of marijuana to which Bass replied by asking if McGee had the package. Bass produced a handgun and shot and shattered the driver’s side window. McGee immediately relinquished the package to the gunman as he and Sheppard pled with Bass to spare their lives. Bass ordered the friend who’d accompanied him to exit the vehicle just before he reached inside and shot both Sheppard and McGee.
“Despite the defendant’s longstanding claims that he was illegally sentenced on the basis that jurors were misinformed about “the elements” of these murders, the court of criminal appeals has affirmed that the prosecution did not misapply the law,” said state’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Although this case is finally over, it is regrettable that closure for the victims’ families had to be postponed for over two decades. Still, I am pleased that justice was secured.”