Man blames prison officials who freed him, admits slaying

January 15, 1991|By Sheridan Lyons

Steven Tyrone Pettie said he was too drunk to remember fatally stabbing an 80-year-old Southwest Baltimore man last May and blamed the prison officials for releasing him after serving time for an earlier crime.

Pettie, 30, pleaded guilty and was sentenced yesterday for the May 11 first-degree murder and robbery of Louis A. Jacob -- eight months after being released upon his serving a prison term for assault with intent to murder.

Although he only whispered "Yes" and "No" yesterday, Pettie told the police last May in the wake of the murder: "I told them I didn't want to go back, but they said I did my 10 years: Go home. So whatever happens is on them. . . . I hate humans. I told them I wasn't ready to go back to the street. I could go to a shopping center with an Uzi. . . . I want to go back to jail."

Rejecting Pettie's claim that he didn't remember stabbing Mr. Jacob, and calling him a "homicidal maniac," Baltimore Circuit Judge Elsbeth L. Bothe said he would get his wish and probably spend the rest of his life in prison. Under the plea agreement, she gave him a life sentence for the murder and 25 years without parole for robbery with a deadly weapon.

In outlining the prosecution's case, Lawrence C. Doan said Mr. Jacob had gone to a neighborhood bar, as he did almost every day, and returned to his home in the 1900 block of Wilhelm Street about 2 a.m., using his cane and accompanied by a friend.

Soon afterward, two neighbors heard noises from Mr. Jacob's row house and called police -- who arrested Pettie at the house as he tried to flee through a rear window. He had $29, 20 bus tokens and some after-shave lotion, toothpaste and soap taken from the house.

Mr. Jacob lay dead on the kitchen floor, stabbed in the head and throat, with a bent knife and his shattered cane at his feet.

Mr. Doan said the victim, a veteran of two wars, had no close relatives but "his family essentially was the neighbors." Mr. Doan displayed a petition signed by about 1,000 people expressing their concern about the killing of Mr. Jacob.

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