Inmates involved in riot get one-day sentences

October 20, 1992|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Three inmates received one-day sentences yesterday for their roles in sparking a riot last year at the Maryland Penitentiary.

In pronouncing the sentences against inmates who are already serving up to two life-terms in prison, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Elsbeth L. Bothe said she did not see the sense in taking up court time to try the men.

"It's unfortunate the court system can't do anything about these people," she said. "I can't confer nine lives on the defendants. They're not cats. I wish I could -- and then take them back."

In return for pleading guilty, all three men received one-day sentences for attempted escape. They also received 10-year sentences for false imprisonment and robbery, but those terms are to be served concurrently with their other sentences.

Sentenced yesterday were: Clarence W. Mouzone, 36, serving a double life sentence plus 30 years for two counts of murder; Marando E. Warthen, 30, serving 103 years for two counts of murder; and Richard A. Miner, 25, serving 30 years for assault with intent to murder.

Assistant State's Attorney Louis K. Coleman told the court the June 16, 1991, incident began when a correctional officer found a denim bag containing hacksaw blades in the prison. After the guard took the bag to an office, Mouzone appeared and displayed a .25-caliber handgun while demanding the bag, the prosecutor said.

Mr. Coleman said Miner was carrying a .38-caliber revolver during the uprising and Warthen placed one of the guards in a half nelson wrestling hold.

The prosecutor said the inmates attempted to escape through a trap door in the cellblock ceiling -- unaware that the door had been welded shut and covered by a ton of concrete. The prosecutor said the inmates were apprehended after only 2 1/2 hours of what ended up being a 26-hour ordeal as other inmates held authorities at bay. He also said they were part of a group of older prisoners who convinced younger inmates not to murder the guards.

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