Saying that society should be protected from Kevin Michael Briscoe, a county Circuit Court judge sentenced him yesterday to life plus 30 years for his role in the April 1990 slaying of a 44-year-old Columbia woman.
Briscoe, 26, was convicted in January of felony murder inthe death of Pamela Mary Barker, who was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her home in the 9700 block of Basket Ring Road. Barker was a program analyst with the Health Care Financing Administration.
Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. sentenced Briscoe to life in prison for the felony murder conviction and imposed the maximum sentences of 20 years for robbery with a deadly weapon and 10 years for burglary, to be served consecutively. He could be eligible for parole in 28 to 31 years.
Before sentencing, Briscoe told Kane that he was innocent in Barker's death, although he admitted using her stolen credit cards to obtain cash, purchase clothes and jewelry and make payments on his car repair bill.
"I have no type of remorse for this crime because I didn't participate in the crime," said Briscoe, a formerColumbia resident. "I'm not this heinous, cruel individual even though I've been found guilty supposedly by a jury of my peers. I'm not the animal these people portray me to be."
Prosecutors theorized that Briscoe and another man, Brian Jordan, broke into Barker's house planning to commit a robbery and murdered Barker, who was sleeping in her upstairs bedroom.
Assistant state's attorney Christine Gage, sought a sentence of life without parole for Briscoe, citing the brutality of Barker's murder. She asked Kane to consider Briscoe's prior record, which includes 12 juvenile delinquency findings for property crimes and three convictions as an adult for daytime housebreaking andburglary.
"There is no hope for Kevin Briscoe; from the age of 14he has been in and out of trouble," Gage said. "The state, the community and society has attempted to help him become a productive memberof society and he threw his future away."
Briscoe's defense attorneys, Craig Gendler and Linda Ostovitz, said that their client came from a severely dysfunctional family in which his heroin addict fathertaught his son that shoplifting was appropriate behavior.
Briscoewas awarded a basketball scholarship to Morgan State University in 1983 but it was rescinded after his housebreaking convictions, Gendlersaid.
"What we have here is a manifestation of learning at an early age that stealing is appropriate conduct," Gendler said.
On March 9, Jordan, 29, was convicted of first-degree murder in Barker's death. He was also sentenced to life plus 30 years. The state had sought the death penalty in the case.
Temsegen Melaku, 22, also chargedwith first-degree murder in Barker's death, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case in exchange for his testimony against Briscoe and Jordan. He admitted to his role as a driver and lookout man in the robbery and testified that Jordan was the individual who actually killed Barker.
As part of a plea agreement with the state, Melaku will receive a sentence of between 10 and 15 years for his role inthe crime.