Canadian soldier convicted of assault with intent to murder

November 16, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Correspondent

ANNAPOLIS -- A hitchhiking Canadian fugitive who led police on a 41-hour manhunt in June was convicted yesterday of assault with intent to murder in a shootout with two state troopers along U.S. 50 near here.

Pvt. Eric W. Schumacher, 21, one of two Canadian soldiers charged with two counts each of assault with intent to murder and other crimes in the June 6 incident, entered an Alford plea in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. Under the plea, he did not admit guilt but conceded there was enough evidence to convict him.

He could get 50 years in prison at his Dec. 17 sentencing.

Attorney Timothy D. Murnane said he will ask Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. to give his client five to eight years, in accordance with non-binding guidelines.

But State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said: "When you shoot at a police officer you ought to get a substantially high sentence, higher than the guidelines."

Schumacher also was convicted of a handgun violation carrying a minimum sentence of five years. The shootout -- in which neither trooper was injured -- occurred after the troopers stopped Schumacher and Pvt. Donald R. Nelson for hitchhiking on U.S. 50 near the Davidsonville Road exit and discovered Private Nelson was wanted in Canada, Mr. Weathersbee told the court.

In fact, both men were wanted in the shooting of a police officer six days earlier in Toronto. But Schumacher was not discovered because he gave police a false name. The judge's decision to allow the officer to testify was the main factor in Schumacher's decision to plead, Mr. Murnane said.

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