Forgotten inmate not bitter Martin Henn philosophical, saying ordeal may prevent future errors.

August 15, 1991|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Evening Sun Staff

Martin R. Henn -- the forgotten man of the state's judicial system -- walked gingerly out into the sticky morning heat on Calvert Street for his first taste of freedom in a year.

Henn was almost poetic in describing a lonely year in the city jail, during which he was never formally charged or brought to trial.

"Nobody knew I existed," he said. "There was not one visit because there was no one to visit. There was no mail, because there was no one to write. There was no money because there was no one to give," Henn said. "Me and my God made it happen."

Henn, who seemed a bit dazed by the group of reporters gathered to witness his new freedom in front of the Baltimore Circuit Court, said he was not bitter about his year in judicial limbo.

"Maybe in the future," Henn said, "[my case] can and will keep someone else from going through the hell this man has."

Henn, a soft-spoken, slight man with a bushy, graying beard and flowing hair, said he had asked social workers at the jail about his status several times. Nothing was done, he said. Finally, he came to court last week and Baltimore Circuit Judge Ellen M. Heller moved quickly to resolve various charges pending against him. Yesterday, she dismissed an arson case dating to July 1990 and Henn was free.

Henn said he has been homeless for nine years and has lost touch with his five daughters. He has worked as an auto dTC mechanic and considers north Anne Arundel County his home.

Henn went yesterday to Tuerk House, a Baltimore treatment center for alcoholics.

"I've got a year of sobriety under my belt," he said. "It sure as hell was a hard year. But, I'm very strong-willed."

Heller sent Henn on his way with a mini-lecture.

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