Annapolis man given life term with no parole

November 21, 1991|By Jay Apperson

ANNAPOLIS -- Michael David Swartz was sentenced to life in prison with no parole in the 1990 stabbing death and $50 robbery of a Crownsville man yesterday, a day after another man convicted in the crimes received the same sentence.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth rejected pleas from Swartz's attorney to sentence the 25-year-old Annapolis man to life with a chance for parole.

Defense attorney James D. McCarthy Jr. had pointed to his client's clean criminal record and detailed a difficult childhood spent in foster homes before his adoption by Robert and Kay Swartz.

His upbringing -- and the cold treatment he received in the Swartz household -- was described in "Sudden Fury," a 1989 best-seller that focused on brother Larry Swartz's murder of their parents in 1984.

Michael Swartz told the court he has rediscovered religion and has forgiven his brother for killing their parents.

He described his role in the July 9, 1990, murder of Robert Austin Bell, 57.

Swartz said he and co-defendant Ronald L. Scoates had been drinking heavily when, carrying knives, they entered Mr. Bell's house.

Swartz said he was shaking the man's hand when "Ronnie just started stabbing him for no reason. I reacted to that and started stabbing."

Mr. Bell was stabbed 48 times.

Scoates, 31, was sentenced to life without parole Tuesday by a Queen Anne's County jury. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Scoates but did not seek the death penalty for Swartz.

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