Bowing to pressure from a murder victim's family, Gov. William Donald Schaefer refused yesterday to have lunch in prison with a killer who was the successful bidder for a gubernatorial meal in a Center Stage benefit auction.
Governor Schaefer rejected the $1,750 bid for the pleasure of his company that was made Sunday by Douglas Scott Arey, a 42-year-old inmate at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup who is serving a life sentence for a 1973 murder in Baltimore.
Instead, the governor accepted the second highest bid of $1,700 and said he would kick in the $50 difference out of his own pocket.
"I will not participate," Mr. Schaefer said in a prepared statement. "Doing so would violate my own community standards and my personal sense of decency.
"I spoke earlier today with members of the victim's family and assured them I would not be a party to any attempts to bring publicity or credibility to the man responsible for the death of their father," the governor said.
Arey, who charged the $1,750 luncheon bid using his credit card, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In a telephone interview from prison with The Sun on Monday, he said he was not seeking publicity, but rather wanted to make a donation to Center Stage, where he had attended performances.
He did acknowledge that he hoped to discuss his case and problems with the Division of Correction's pre-release system during the lunch, which probably would have been at the Jessup prison.
"Any attempts by the man convicted of first-degree murder to drag his case before the public will only cause more unnecessary suffering" for the victim's family, the governor said yesterday.
Mr. Schaefer recalled that as mayor of Baltimore he had known the murder victim, Samuel D. Shapiro, a political gadfly and perennial Republican candidate for public office who was 43 when he was killed May 9, 1973.
Arey was convicted of first-degree murder and a handgun violation for shooting Mr. Shapiro three times in the chest, in what prosecutors said at the time was part of a scheme to take over the victim's parking lot business in the city.
After Mr. Shapiro was killed in the then-vacant Belvedere Hotel, where Arey and an accomplice were security guards, the body was stuffed into a steamer trunk and then dumped over an embankment near Scranton, Pa.
In the interview Monday, Arey explained that he had obtained his credit card after earning money while on work-release between between Sept. 6, 1988, and Sept. 24, 1990.
Arey said of the governor: "If he declined, it wouldn't hurt me, it'd hurt the charity."