Inmate gets 10 years for voluntary manslaughter

April 28, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

An inmate at the Patuxent Institution in Jessup was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for the stabbing death of a fellow inmate during an argument in June.

Eugene James Taylor, 27, will serve the sentence in addition to a 10-year term he has been serving for robbery with a deadly weapon since 1990.

Taylor pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in January for stabbing Freddie Herbert Jr. with a "shank," a type of homemade knife, during a fight in the institution's dormitory June 10, 1992.

"I'm sorry for his death," Taylor said. "He came to me. I was defending myself."

But Howard Circuit Judge Raymond Kane Jr. said he decided to sentence Taylor to the maximum sentence to set an example for other inmates in the state's prisons.

Judge Kane noted that the voluntary manslaughter charge already considers the circumstances of the confrontation between the inmates. The prosecution dropped first-degree murder and other charges as part of the plea agreement.

Assistant Public Defender Spencer Gordon sought a lenient sentence, arguing that his client went to his bunk after Herbert initiated a confrontation with him in another part of the institution. Taylor pulled out the weapon when Herbert came after him.

Mr. Gordon brought two other Patuxent inmates, including one serving a life sentence for murder, to testify on Taylor's behalf. They described Herbert as aggressive and intimidating.

But Senior Assistant State's Attorney Christine Gage said Taylor escalated the confrontation by pulling out a shank and lunging at Herbert.

Herbert was serving a 30-year sentence for assault and weapons convictions. Patuxent is the state's primary rehabilitation facility.

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