Jordan Seeks Sentence Reduction

Convicted Murderer Was Denied A New Trial

August 14, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — Claiming his sentence of two life terms plus 10 years is too severe,convicted murderer Brian Richard Jordan is asking a county judge to reduce the penalty.

A former Howard County resident, Jordan was convicted in October 1988 at the age of 17 of murdering South Carroll High student Richard Purman.

Jordan's attorney, J. Barry Hughes of Westminster, filed a request in Carroll Circuit Court yesterday to have a judge review -- and perhaps reduce -- the sentence.

The review hearing is set for Nov. 12.

Jordan and former Westminster resident Brian Tracy killed Purman so they could steal his car and flee from a Sykesville home for delinquent youths.

The request for a sentence reduction is the latestin a recent series of events in Jordan's case.

In June, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied Jordan's request for a new trial. Jordan is renewing a May 1989 request to have the sentence modified. The request was delayed when Jordan's case began its lengthy trek through the state's appeals courts.

Now that appeals have been exhausted, Jordan's fate may rest with one of the three Circuit Court judges. In court records, Hughes claims the sentence imposed by then-Circuit Judge Donald J. Gilmore was "inappropriate" because it was the same sentence given to Tracy.

Tracy, then 17, shot Purman in the chest and was convicted of first-degree murder.

Since Jordan was convicted offelony murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, Hughes believes it was unfair for the men to have the same sentence for different crimes.

Hughes charges that Gilmore"wholly ignored" two days of testimony about Jordan's character, drug problem, and the circumstances that landed him in the Sykesville Shelter Home with Tracy. The attorney criticized Gilmore for saying he did not know whether Jordan would conspire to kill again and that he wasn't going to take that chance, the petition said. Hughes also criticized the state Juvenile Services Administration for placing Tracy in the non-secured home, calling him a danger to other youths.

He said Tracy had "homicidal and suicidal" tendencies before he went to the home, where he "developed a morbid fascination with death."

Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said his office plans to oppose any reduction in Jordan's sentence.

"Our position is that this was a brutal, premeditated and planned murder and they laughed about it afterwards," said Hickman, who prosecuted the case.

Most requests for a modification of sentence are heard by the judge who presidedover the case. Since Gilmore retired from the bench in September 1990 to pursue private practice, another judge will be assigned to the case.

Hickman said it will be the job of the attorneys in the case to make sure the review judge is familiar with the facts. He plans toencourage the judge to review trial transcripts and consider the crime's impact on Purman's family. If Jordan's request is denied, Hughessaid, Jordan can have his case reviewed by a three-judge panel appointed by Administrative Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.

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