A Severn man who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy was sentenced in Circuit Court yesterday to two years in prison for soliciting an undercover police officer to murder an Odenton man.
Michael Lewis Tyler, of the 7900 block of Telegraph Road, was described by police as a small-time drug dealer. He was charged after he gave the officer a $250 down payment in cocaine to kill the man.
In reaching a plea agreement last month that stipulated Tyler would spend no more than two years in prison, prosecutors cited his medical condition, his lack of criminal record and the circumstances of the murder plot.
Before the sentence was handed down, Tyler's attorney, Pamela L. North, asked that he be transferred from the county detention center to the state Department of Corrections, which she said would provide him with better medical care.
About 20 minutes after he was arrested last December, Tyler, 22, had a seizure at the detention center but was not given his medication for several hours. Several months later, he had a second seizure and was not given his medication at the detention center for 17 hours.
Ms. North also expressed concern for Tyler's safety in prison and said after the hearing that he would probably be better protected in a state facility. His mobility in his left side is impaired, and just two weeks ago, all of his personal belongings were stolen by another inmate at the detention center.
"I can tell you my client is just a sitting duck in the detention center. He is not able to defend himself in there," she said.
Listing several factors that mitigated her client's crime, Ms. North said the undercover officer was very convincing in his impersonation of a drug dealer.
Tyler knew the man by reputation when they were introduced by a friend, "and he was somewhat intimidated by him from the start."
Ms. North also noted that Tyler was depressed because a relationship with a girlfriend ended that afternoon and he had been drinking before the meeting, something he almost never did because of his medical condition.
After the initial meeting between Tyler and the officer, Tyler called him and tried to cancel the deal, Ms. North said.
Tyler had known the intended victim since both were children, and the man was one of several neighborhood children who taunted Tyler because of his disability. This may have fed Tyler's anger toward the man, Ms. North said.
There was never a follow-up meeting, and no money ever changed hands, she said.
Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. sentenced Tyler to four years in prison, with two years suspended, and five years probation. He was also ordered to undergo drug counseling while in prison.