Thanos blasts doctors in court Sentencing for murder conviction is due today.

March 20, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

LEONARDTOWN -- Convicted killer John Frederick Thanos was expected to speak on his own behalf today before being sentenced by a St. Mary's County judge for the 1990 robbery and murder of an Eastern Shore teen-ager who had given him a ride.

Over his own attorney's objections, the 42-year-old Thanos persuaded Judge Marvin S. Kaminetz to allow him the final say before the judge pronounces sentence.

Facing a possible death sentence for the murder of Gregory A. Taylor Jr., 18, a welder from Hebron, Thanos spent most of yesterday in court scoffing at testimony from two defense experts who said he suffers from a "borderline personality disorder, with anti-social features."

The experts said the ailment rendered Thanos unable to stop himself from shooting Mr. Taylor in the head three times. Mr. Taylor had given the hitchhiking Thanos a ride, but was killed for his 1988 Ford Festiva.

"You're a liar," Thanos said to one of the psychiatrists yesterday.

James McCarthy, one of three public defenders assigned to Thanos, said the defense wanted him to give his allocution, or final speech, before the two psychiatric experts testified, so the experts could analyze what Thanos said.

But Thanos objected, saying he wanted to listen to the psychiatrists' testimony, so that he might rebut it when he gives his speech to the judge.

Thanos has consistently maintained that his childhood was not the horror that his defense experts have portrayed, that his father was not the monster who has been described in court -- a man who allegedly raped his daughter and terrorized, beat and humiliated his only son.

Thanos has also objected to other descriptions of himself by the experts, such as a reference to him being frequently beaten up as a child.

"I never lost a fight in my life," Thanos said, likewise denying testimony that he was a homosexual and cross-dresser during the 1970s at the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore.

At one point yesterday, Lawrence Donner, a Baltimore psychologist, was describing how Thanos talked about feeling remorseful toward the families of his murder victims this past Christmas.

"Oh, you're a liar," said Thanos. "I did nothing of the kind."

Thanos could get the death penalty, life in prison or life in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of Mr. Taylor.

He is already serving more than 100 years for the robbery of a Salisbury cabdriver and the wounding of a Salisbury convenience store clerk.

In addition, he faces a possible death sentence for the murders of two Middle River teen-agers, Billy Winebrenner, 16, and Melody Pistorio, 14, who were gunned down during a Labor Day 1990 holdup at a Baltimore County gas station.

That sentencing will take place June 1 in Garrett County.

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