Jordan Asks Judge To Cut 'Overly Harsh' Murder Term

December 08, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — A confident, emotionless Brian R. Jordan turned to the family of the Sykesville youth he was convicted of killing and told them he knew he could not expect their mercy.

The father of the murdered Richard Purman took the stand later last week and wondered what mercy he and his family might be shown by the court.

Now the families of murderer and victim wait to see whether a judge will show Jordan mercy and reduce his sentence, handed down in March 1989, of two life terms plus 20 years at the Maryland State Penitentiary.

Jordan, formerly of Columbia, was convicted at age 17 in October 1988 of conspiracy to commit murder, felony murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in the Nov. 22, 1987 shooting of Purman.

Jordan and Westminster attorney J. Barry Hughes asked Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. last week to reduce the sentence, calling it "overly harsh."

Hughes maintains that Jordan's sentence was too severe because it was not Jordan, but Brian Tracy of Taylorsville, who killed Purman.

Tracy, convicted in June 1988 of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery,unlawful use of a handgun and related charges, was sentenced to two life terms plus 60 years.

According to court testimony, Jordan, Tracy and Dawn Torres escaped from the Sykesville Shelter Home after convincing Purman to give them a ride.

At a secluded area in Taylorsville, Tracy shot Purman in the chest, planning to steal his car. When the car didn't start, the youths returned to the shelter, where they were later arrested.

Hughes told the judge that Jordan's participation in Purman's murder was the result of "deadly, incredible incidences coming together."

Hughes called Tracy a "charismatic time bomb" who had homicidal and suicidal thoughts before entering the shelter home and had a "morbid fascination with death."

"(Tracy) led Brian Jordan on a misadventure where tough talk became real," said Hughes.

Jordan's mother, Anna, testified that her son has suffered emotionally since his parents' divorce and had abused drugs and alcohol since he was 13.

She described "two Brians" -- one a dutiful son, the other an argumentative teen.

She asked Burns to look at the differences between her son and Tracy.

Jordan took the stand and listed all of the programs he has joined at the penitentiary, including a college degree program and the prison chapter of the Jaycees.

Hesaid he made a "terrible mistake" four years ago when he ran away with Tracy and Torres and that he never took seriously Tracy's talk of killing someone for a car.

Asked how he felt when he saw Tracy shoot Purman, Jordan said he "wasn't really feeling anything, just watching in slow motion."

Hughes tried to portray a difference between Tracy and Jordan.

But State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman told Burns: "To say this was a cold-blooded situation is putting it mildly. They planned this murder, carried it out, and then actually sat and laughed about it."

He said there was a race between the two youths tokill Purman, and that Jordan lost because he couldn't get his knife out of his sleeve to stab Purman first.

Hickman urged Burns to letJordan's sentence stand.

James Purman, Richard Purman's father, took the stand to tell Burns of the impact the murder has had on his family.

"I have done all I know how to get beyond this . . . but I'm stuck with this death forever," he said. "What mercy can be shown us?"

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