NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor

January 20, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Pa. extradition expected for suspect in 1991 killing

James Howard VanMetre, who is in a Pennsylvania prison awaiting sentencing for rape and kidnapping convictions, could be extradited to Carroll County as early as today to face first-degree murder charges in the 1991 death of a woman whose body was found in Harney.

VanMetre, 35, waived his right to an extradition hearing in Gettysburg, Pa., on Friday, clearing the way for his return to Maryland. He is being held at the State Correctional Institute at Camp Hill, near Harrisburg.

Maryland state troopers will serve him with a December 1991 indictment charging him with the murder of Holly Ann Blake, a 28-year-old mother of two who disappeared from her Adams County, Pa., home on Sept. 26, 1991. Her charred remains were found on a Harney farm in October 1991.

A trooper who handles warrants at the state police barracks in Westminster declined yesterday to say when they would serve VanMetre with the indictment and return him to Westminster. But he did say it could be as early as today.

Once he is returned to Carroll, VanMetre will be fingerprinted, booked and given a bail review hearing.

He has yet to be sentenced for the rape and kidnapping convictions returned by an Adams County Court of Common Pleas jury last July.

In that case, VanMetre was found guilty of abducting a Reading Township, Pa., woman from her home on Sept. 15, 1991. During the trial, the victim testified that VanMetre took her to a campground, tied her hands and raped her three times before taking her home.

VanMetre will not be sentenced until Adams County President Judge Oscar F. Spicer considers a set of motions filed in the case.

In what are called post-verdict motions, VanMetre is attempting to have the convictions overturned, claiming that his public defender was incompetent and that the trial should have been moved. He also claimed he was mentally unable to stand trial. While those motions are similar to an appeal, they are filed before a sentence is imposed.

While Judge Spicer considers the motions, VanMetre will be held at the Carroll County Detention Center, said Martha Duvall, an Adams County assistant district attorney. Ms. Duvall said Judge Spicer's decision -- and attorneys' arguments -- could take several months.

Child abuser gets year on work-release

A 37-year-old Taneytown man convicted of abusing his 11-year-old step-daughter was sentenced to 10 years in state prison yesterday.

Carroll Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold immediately suspended all but one year of the sentence, which the man will serve on work-release at the Carroll County Detention Center.

In addition to jail time, Judge Arnold ordered the man to continue counseling for pedophilia and placed him on five years of supervised probation after he is released from jail.

"I will tell you that if you violate probation, it will result in your serving all of the time I'm going to give you," Judge Arnold said.

The man -- whose name is being withheld to protect the privacy of the victim -- pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse on Oct. 8.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped seven additional charges, including several sex offense counts.

According to court records, the man fondled the girl on at least one occasion. He was arrested and charged in April after the girl told counselors at school about the offenses.

FIRE

* New Windsor: New Windsor, Westminster, Union Bridge and Pleasant Valley responded to a chimney fire on Roops Mill Road at 8:23 a.m. yesterday. Units were out for 1 hour, 19 minutes.

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