A lawyer for a man convicted of murder said yesterday that the fatalstabbing was prompted by sexual advances from the victim, a Pasadenaman who was known to be a carrier of the AIDS virus.
William Timothy Whittaker, 27, was sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for the April 1990 death of 54-year-old Clifton John Montgomery. Whittaker, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May, told police that he and Montgomery had been arguing the night of the killing and that he had rebuffed Montgomery's sexual advances.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday in county Circuit Court, assistant public defender Carol McCabe said that Whittaker believed Montgomery was infected with the AIDS virus when Montgomery "came up from behind him and grabbed him in a sexual way" just before the stabbing.
McCabe said an autopsy confirmed the presence of the HIV virus in Montgomery's body.
She said the decision for Whittaker to plead guilty to second-degree murder in May was a last-minute one. She said a trial featuring the defense that Whittaker was responding to what could have been a fatal attack would have been a gamble; the lawyer saidshe knew of no precedent for such a defense in Maryland courts.
McCabe told Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. that as a boy Whittaker had been "severely physically abused" and neglected by his father. She saidWhittaker was befriended by Montgomery, who became a "surrogate father."
But Montgomery, a homosexual, began sexually abusing Whittaker when Whittaker was 12 years old, McCabe told the court. Whittaker eventually found a girlfriend, who had children with the man, but in April 1990 Montgomery called for Whittaker to help him care for his bedridden mother, the lawyer said.
McCabe added that Montgomery enticed Whittaker to come to his home by offering him paint thinner to inhale; the lawyer said Whittaker's record includes a number of minor drug offenses, including illegally inhaling substances.
Whittaker spent a day or two at Montgomery's home in the 7700 block of CatherineAvenue before the murder, McCabe said. She said that both men were drinking and that Whittaker had been inhaling the paint thinner the day of the murder.
In a statement to police, Whittaker said he had gone into the kitchen and picked up a knife to make a sandwich when Montgomery grabbed him. He told police that he turned and stabbed Montgomery and then stashed his body in a crawl space under the house.
Yesterday in court, Whittaker told the judge, "What happened wasn't intended. It was just a natural reaction."
Thieme sentenced Whittaker to 30 years in prison, but suspended 15. The judge recommended Whittaker serve his time at the Patuxent Institution, a state prison that offers psychological treatment to inmates.