Medley: Two Life Terms, No Parole

Man Beat Parents With Steel Rod In1989

April 30, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

A 37-year-old Severn man described by his attorney as a "mental cripple" was sentenced yesterday to two consecutive prison terms of life without parole for using a steel rod to beat his frail, elderly parents to death in June 1989.

In sentencing Mark Gregory Medley, Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner rejected testimony froma psychologist who said Medley's schizophrenia, which was exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse, could be treated. The judge seemed more swayed by a presentence investigation that concluded Medley is a "very dangerous individual."

Lerner also pointed to a remark contained in a victim impact statement submitted by Medley's brother and relayed to the court by county State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

"The defendant said he couldn't wait for his parents to die so he could urinate on their graves," Weathersbee said. "I think life without parole is appropriate so he will never have that opportunity."

Lerner said, "It seems to mealmost unbelievable that anybody would make such a statement about his parents, the people who gave him life.

"In my opinion, Mr. Medley, you are not fit to walk in society ever again," the judge said. "I feel you will kill again."

On March 5, a jury deliberated an hour before finding Medley guilty -- and sane and, therefore, criminallyresponsible -- in the slaying of 77-year-old Joe Caldwell Medley and75-year-old Catherine Ann Medley.

Testimony in the weeklong trialshowed Medley used a steel bar to beat his parents to death in the living room of their house in the 1400 block of Virginia Avenue.

After killing them, he forged some of their checks, withdrew money fromfamily bank accounts and took off on a jaunt that included stops in six states before he was arrested.

During the trial, defense attorneys claimed Medley's schizophrenia rendered him unable to form the intent necessary to be convicted of premeditated murder, and they argued he was psychotic when he killed his parents. At yesterday's sentencing hearing, Medley's history of emotional and mental problems was again raised by assistant public defenders J. Michael Wachs and PamelaNorth.

In asking the judge to sentence Medley to consecutive lifesentences, which would have left him eligible for parole in about 30years, North portrayed Medley's life in terms of "contradictions."

She said he was an intelligent man who attended Yale University andgraduated inthe top 1 percent of his class at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County -- only to end up taking remedial classes that covered areas such as how to dress for a job interview. And she said he cared for his parents but treated them poorly even before the murder.

North talked of Medley as a lonely, overweight, balding "egghead" in high school who eventually retreated into drug and alcohol abuse. She talked of his lack of friends, and she said he had never had a girlfriend -- and had had only one sexual experience, an "unpleasant" coupling with a prostitute.

The defense attorney also told the court of Medley's bizarre behavior, such as being found gardening and, on another occasion, walking up to the ticket window at a movietheater -- in the nude. Medley is "sort of a cripple, not physically but a mental cripple," North said.

Medley declined to speak on his own behalf during the hearing and declined to comment afterward.

Thomas Medley said he was happy with the sentence because "I think the judge is right, that if he's free he'll do it again."

Both Thomas Medley and his wife, Nancy Medley, said Mark Medley lied about his background to his lawyers. They said Mark Medley had had girlfriends, for example.

Lerner said he sentenced Medley to consecutive life-without-parole sentences to ensure he spends the rest of his life behind bars even if the state legislature changes the law regarding such sentences. Lerner also sentenced Medley to 18 months for a misdemeanor theft conviction stemming from the murder and, finding him guilty of violation of probation, ordered him to serve another three years and eight months for an attempted armed robbery that ended with himdetained in a car trunk. The judge also ordered both of those sentences to be served consecutively.

Defense attorney Wachs said the murder conviction will be appealed.

At a court hearing last fall, Medley backed out of a deal to plead guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in exchange for prosecutors' promise to drop plans to seek a sentence of life without parole.

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