A Glen Burnie man pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering his 22-year-old live-in girlfriend during an argument in which the two cut up each other's clothes.
Vansie William "Bam" West, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Oct. 27, 1990, death of Delphinia Edith"Peaches" Richardson. Assistant State's Attorney Warren Davis told ajudge that Richardson died of a single stab wound sustained during an argument at the couple's basement apartment in the 7800 block of Winborne Drive, Glen Burnie.
West, who said he had worked as a sterilizer at a hospital, entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the existence of sufficient evidence for conviction.
The prosecutor said the incident began when West angered Richardson by borrowing her car for almost nine hours the day of the murder. When he returned with the car, the woman went outside and moved it, hoping tohide it from him, Davis said.
When the woman and her45-year-old mother left to look for a baby-sitter to hire for the following day, West became angry and threatened to "rip up" her clothes, the prosecutor told the court, adding that West used scissors to cut up Richardson's clothes.
When the women returned, Richardson went to sleep in her daughter's bed, further angering West, who broke an alarm clock, Davis said. Intending to leave but finding most of her clothes cut up, Richardson looked in a closet for dirty clothes to wear but found apair of West's pants and ripped them, the prosecutor said.
When the woman grabbed a jacket from the closet, West got a knife from the kitchen and fatally stabbed Richardson in the chest.
The prosecutor said police called to the scene after Richardson collapsed on a sidewalk had visited the apartment for at least one prior domestic disturbance. As he emerged from the apartment, West said, "She cut my coatso I stabbed her," Davis told the court.
The woman died a few hours later at North Arundel Hospital.
Assistant Public Defender James D. McCarthy Jr. disagreed with some of the details in Davis' version, saying Richardson had used a butcher knife to cut up the jacket before lunging at the man, prompting him to stab her. McCarthy told thecourt West was entering a "compromise plea" -- that a trial could have resulted in anything from an acquittal for self-defense to a murder conviction.
Under terms of the plea agreement, West will be sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison. Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Davis said sentencing guidelinesshow West should be sentenced to between 12 and 25 years. Sentencingwas set for July 26.
During the hearing, the victim's grandmotherfled the courtroom, saying, "Oh no. Lord have mercy." After the hearing, the victim's brother directed a menacing, profane remark at West, and Richardson's mother left the courthouse sobbing.