Killer argues for another trial, gets life in prison, plus 43 years

July 30, 1992|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Carl Hornfeck just shook his head as his wife's killer, facing life in prison with no chance for parole, tried in vain yesterday to persuade a judge to put off his sentencing.

Darrell L. Ricks, a parolee who used a .357-caliber Magnum to murder 60-year-old Phyllis Hornfeck in a parking lot outside a Maryland National Bank branch, was acting as his own attorney again. Having three times fired public defenders assigned to his case, Ricks defended himself during the trial. Baltimore Circuit Judge Andre M. Davis said the public defender's office did not have to represent Ricks during his sentencing hearing.

For half an hour, Ricks offered reasons why the sentencing should be delayed and why he should receive a new trial. Judge Davis rejected every one of them.

"This guy is too much," Mr. Hornfeck said from the second row in the courtroom gallery. "He's a con artist."

After a court trial in June, Ricks, 35, was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and handgun charges in the July 11, 1991, shooting death of Mrs. Hornfeck.

The woman was shot in the face and chest as she sat in her minivan outside the West Baltimore bank where she worked as chief teller, waiting for a second employee to arrive to open the bank on a Thursday morning.

Judge Davis gave Ricks the maximum sentence on all counts: Life without parole for the murder, plus another 43 years, to be served consecutively, for attempted armed robbery and handgun convictions.

"I believe you are a grave, grave danger," the judge told Ricks. "It is the court's intention you never ever walk the streets as a free man."

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