Carter's accomplice gets life sentence Woodward aided in Pilius slaying BALTIMORE CITY

April 07, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Clarence Woodward, Dontay Carter's accomplice in the kidnapping and beating death of Vitalis V. Pilius, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of life with no chance of parole for Woodward, but Baltimore Circuit Judge John N. Prevas said the teen-ager was a "follower" who did not deserve as stiff a sentence as Carter, who also faces life without parole.

"I'm convinced that Mr. Woodward was enticed by Mr. Carter to conduct this robbery. It's unclear whether he knew the robbery was going to end with a murder because Mr. Carter has an ability to improvise" -- as shown in his short-lived escape from the courthouse while on trial in January, the judge said. "That makes it difficult to sentence them both in the same fashion."

No sentencing date has been set for Carter, 19, who was convicted of first-degree murder in Mr. Pilius' death, and attempted murder, armed robbery and weapons charges in two other kidnappings in his February 1992 crime spree. A jury found Woodward, 17, guilty of felony murder and kidnapping in March, more than two months after another jury failed to reach a verdict.

Woodward displayed no emotion as Judge Prevas pronounced sentence. Earlier, Woodward had told the court: "All I have to say is, I'm sorry for what happened to Mr. Pilius on Feb. 11, 1992. That's it."

Mr. Pilius, a 37-year-old father of four young children from Catonsville, was abducted at gunpoint from the parking garage at the downtown Harbor Park Cinema and then beaten to death with a pole in a vacant East Baltimore rowhouse. His mother, Anele Pilius, and his wife, Aldona Pilius, said during yesterday's sentencing hearing that Woodward should receive life without parole.

Aldona Pilius talked of the pain of losing her "confidante" and said even routine chores have become emotionally and logistically burdensome. She described the ordeal of trying to buy a baseball glove for her son with four children running in four directions in the store, and how she had to make several phone calls to find out how to teach the boy to break in the mitt.

"Vito would have been able to tell my son how to oil a glove. This is just one experience of a thousand similar ones," she said. "Vito's murder is a life sentence for me, the children and all who loved him. His murderer deserves no less."

Prosecutor Vickie L. Wash told the court Carter was the mastermind behind the abduction, but he might not have been able to kill Mr. Pilius without Woodward's help.

"It was a scheme of madness, and Clarence Woodward is equally as dangerous as Dontay Carter because he participated. For every leader there is a follower," she said.

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