Inmate pleads guilty to manslaughter in stabbing at Patuxent Sentencing set for March 2

January 05, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

An inmate at the Patuxent Institution in Jessup pleaded guilty yesterday to voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of a fellow inmate last June.

Eugene James Taylor, 27, was charged with stabbing Freddie Herbert Jr. with a "shank," a type of homemade knife, during a fight in the institution's dormitory June 10, 1992.

The prosecution dropped first-degree murder and other charges as part of a plea agreement entered before Judge Raymond Kane Jr. in Howard County Circuit Court.

Taylor faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the voluntary manslaughter conviction. He will be sentenced on March 2.

Assistant State's Attorney Christine Gage is expected to seek the maximum sentence, according to the plea agreement. Taylor's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Spencer Gordon, is expected to argue for a lenient penalty, possibly a five-year sentence.

Whatever the sentence, it will be added to a 10-year sentence Taylor is already serving for robbery with a deadly weapon, according to the state Division of Corrections.

Taylor started serving that sentence in 1990.

Herbert, the victim, was serving a 30-year sentence for assault and weapons convictions.

Patuxent is the state's primary rehabilitation facility.

According to a state police report filed in Circuit Court, Taylor and the victim were arguing in the institution's dormitory in front of a number of other inmates.

The report does not say what started the argument between the two inmates.

"At one point, the suspect pulled out a shank . . . and began lunging at the victim," the report says.

After the stabbing, the victim staggered into the facility's day room, where he collapsed and died, the report says.

An autopsy performed by state Medical Examiner's Office revealed that the victim suffered a puncture wound under his left armpit, the report says.

Ms. Gage, the prosecutor, said the defendant's shank -- a sharp, narrow weapon -- went into the victim's chest and punctured his lung and heart.

The prosecution was prepared to bring prison guards and inmates to testify that Taylor pulled out the shank and stabbed Herbert during the fight, Ms. Gage said.

In addition to manslaughter, Taylor was indicted on charges of murder, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to maim, assault, battery and carrying a weapon with intent to injure.

If Taylor had been convicted of all the charges, he would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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