2 Convicted In '87 Murder Seek Sentence Reduction

Pair Serving Life Terms For Slaying Of South Carroll High Student

October 06, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — Both young men convicted in the 1987 murder of South Carroll High School student Richard Purman are scheduled to ask county judges to reduce their sentences in the next two months.

Brian Richard Jordan and Brian Matthew Tracy, both 17 at the time of the murder, each are serving two life terms plus 10 years.

Tracy was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and unlawful use of a handgun. Testimony in the case showed Tracy shot and killed Purman so that he, Jordan and 17-year-old Dawn Torres could steal his car and run away to California.

Tracy, Jordan and Torres were residents of the Sykesville Shelter Home for delinquent youths at the time of the murder.

Torres cooperated with the state, and her case was handledin juvenile court.

Tracy's sentence reduction request is set to be heard Nov. 22 by a panel of Carroll's three circuit judges. Nov. 22is the fourth anniversary of Purman's murder.

Because of the sensitivity of the date and concern for the feelings of Purman's family and friends, Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman is writing a letter to Administrative Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. to ask him to move the hearing to another date.

"It seems inappropriate to hold it onthe anniversary of Purman's death," Hickman said.

Jordan's reduction hearing was scheduled to be heard by a single circuit court judgeNov. 12. It has been moved to Dec. 5.

Jordan is scheduled for a psychiatric evaluation Oct. 7.

All defendants have a right to ask to have their sentence modified by the judge who handed it down. In Tracy's and Jordan's cases, that judge was Circuit Judge Donald J. Gilmore, who retired from the bench in September 1990.

Because Gilmoreis no longer a judge, another circuit judge must be selected for thehearing.

If Jordan's request for modification is denied, he stillcan ask for a three-judge panel to review his sentence. Three-judge panels can increase or decrease the length of a sentence.

Tracy's three-judge panel is scheduled to be made up of Beck and circuit judges Luke K. Burns Jr. and Francis M. Arnold.

Jordan's attorney, J. Barry Hughes of Westminster, is asking that his client's sentence be reduced because it is too severe.

Hughes maintains Gilmore "whollyignored" two days of testimony about Jordan's character, drug problem and the circumstances that landed him in the shelter home with Tracy.

Hughes also criticized the state Juvenile Services Administration for placing Tracy in the non-secured home, calling him a danger toother youths.

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

Jordan had only been in the shelter home one month before the murder, court records show.

Hickman opposes a sentence reduction for Tracy and Jordan.

"It was a horrible, preplanned murder. Deliberate and cold-blooded. And they laughed about it afterward," Hickman said.

Both Tracy and Jordan have appealed their cases through state courts to the Maryland Court of Appeals, which upheld theconvictions.

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