Man sentenced to 6 years for spitting

August 20, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

A Pasadena man that a judge said was serving a life term in jail "30 days at a time" may get to do six years of it at one stretch for spitting beer in the face of a Glen Burnie restaurant manager.

Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth yesterday imposed the six-year sentence on Jeffery Bernard Anderson, 31, of the 600 block Ross Drive in Pasadena, who was convicted in July of trespassing and assault charges stemming from the incident. The judge said he was angered by Anderson's lengthy record of petty crimes.

Anderson's lawyer, public defender Robert H. Waldman, said he would ask that the sentence be reviewed because it exceeds sentencing guidelines.

Both Mr. Waldman and prosecutor Robert J. Bittman said they were surprised at the length of the prison term. Sentencing guidelines developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts suggested a term between three months and two years for the crime.

Mr. Bittman had asked for a sentence within the middle range of the guidelines.

Mr. Waldman had argued that although Anderson had a criminal record going back to when he was a juvenile, no offense was serious. According to Mr. Waldman, Anderson had been diagnosed with a mental illness five years ago. He said jailing his client made little sense, and suggested that he be evaluated by a mental health program and ordered to resume taking Prolixin, a medicine he has been prescribed for his schizophrenic condition. He also said the judge should order Anderson to stay with his sister, who has agreed to take care of him.

Mr. Waldman said Anderson had experienced a number of traumas in his life, including abandonment by his father and the deaths of his mother and brother. In addition, he had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, the lawyer said.

But Judge Rushworth clearly was annoyed by the defendant's long record of petty crimes and traffic violations, his reliance on Social Security benefits, and failure to get a job.

"He's doing a life sentence 30 days at a time," the judge said.

"The best thing would be to put you away indefinitely and just write you off," he said. "You have no chance of rehabilitation in the near future as far as I can see."

The most recent charges against Anderson stem from an incident in October at the Sunset Restaurant in the 600 block of Greenway, S.E., in Glen Burnie.

Michael Fratantuono, the manager, caught Anderson and a friend drinking beer behind the restaurant, called police and ordered the men off the premises.

But they returned two hours later and went into the restaurant to buy more beer. Mr. Fratantuono refused to sell it to them and said that when he ordered them to leave, Anderson spit in his face.

A jury found Anderson guilty of trespassing and assault in July.

Yesterday Anderson apologized for his actions, and said that he wouldn't drink again because "the Lord is in my life now."

But Mr. Fratantuono told the court that he would remember the incident long after it had been forgotten by Anderson, the lawyers or the judge.

"What happened was a disgusting act," he said.

Mr. Fratantuono said he would rather have been hit than to have been spit upon, and cited fears that he might contract AIDS or some other disease from the defendant.

"I'm going to worry about this for a long time."

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