Victim's family opposing possible parole of killer

November 28, 1992|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

BALTIMORE COUNTY — Anne Furst McCloskey already has seen the death sentenc for her brother's killer reduced to life. Now she has learned that Derrick Q. White could be paroled when he comes up for a hearing in January.

Alarmed by the possibility that White might be freed, she has asked members of her victim's rights group to write the state parole commission to oppose his parole.

"We are asking your help in preventing the parole of this cold-blooded killer," Mrs. McCloskey wrote as chairwoman of the Maryland Coalition Against Crime. "Court psychiatrists have .

labeled him as a violent individual who is unable to function in a civilized society. He will always pose a threat to the community."

In February 1982, White was sentenced to die for killing Victor J. "Buddy" Furst, a retired Catonsville printer, on Aug. 14, 1981. Last June, White's death sentence was reduced to life in prison.

The murder of Mr. Furst, then 61, helped spark the creation of Maryland's victim's rights movement. In fact, it is partly because of the efforts of such people as Mrs. McCloskey and Rita Furst, Mr. Furst's widow, to get victim's rights legislation passed in Maryland that the family was routinely advised about White's parole status, said Leonard A. Sipes Jr., spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

Although White conceivably could win a parole recommendation January, the chances are slim, Mr. Sipes said.

"Two-thirds of all those eligible for parole do not get paroled," he said, adding that for someone just coming off a death sentence the odds "are even smaller."

Inmates serving life terms are eligible for parole hearings after serving 15 years, minus credits for good time. In capital cases, even if the parole commission recommends freedom, Gov. William Donald Schaefer has final approval, Mr. Sipes said.

"We do encourage people to write the parole commission," Mr. Sipes said. He also said a victim's family members may discuss the case with the commissioner who makes the recommendation.

White was 18 when he shot Mr. Furst in the chest as the retired printer rode his new moped on Dogwood Road in Woodlawn. Mr. Furst was on his way to buy crabs. The shot was fired from a car moving alongside Mr. Furst; according to trial testimony, White said nothing before pulling the trigger.

White and Gerard E. Anthony, who gave White his father's pistol the day of the murder, were riding in a stolen car. They later admitted they were looking for someone to rob. They saw Mr. Furst and decided they wanted his moped. Anthony later said he did not know White would fire the gun without warning.

Anthony, who testified against White, received a life term with all but 25 years suspended.

At the time of the trial, White's lawyer said his client had a mental disorder and grew up in a severely dysfunctional family. White's death sentence was overturned on appeal and he again was sentenced to death in January 1990. That sentence was overturned last May.

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