Drunken driver may get new trial in fatal crash Glaser guilty plea may be withdrawn

June 09, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

Baltimore County's long-running drunken-driving case against John Charles Glaser threatened to start anew yesterday when Glaser said he didn't like the three-year sentence he got for killing a Dundalk man in 1989.

Glaser, who has been up and down through the appeals process over the last four years, said he might withdraw his guilty plea if it would mean more time in jail.

That would mean another full trial for Glaser, who served 22 months in prison in connection with the case on a conviction that was ultimately overturned.

The 39-year-old Hamilton resident pleaded guilty April 20 to homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated. It was his third trial on charges stemming from the death of Everett Lee Jones, who was killed in a head-on crash on June 30, 1989, when Glaser was driving the wrong way on the Baltimore Beltway.

When he was arrested, Glaser had a blood alcohol level of 0.24, more than twice the state's 0.10 standard for intoxication.

Circuit Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. noted yesterday that even with the three-year sentence, Glaser could be free in a matter of months because of time already served.

It was Glaser's second alcohol-related fatality. In 1983, he served 10 weekends in the Anne Arundel County jail for a drunken-driving accident in which his employer died.

When Judge Murphy insisted upon the three-year sentence, Glaser and Assistant Public Defender A. Stewart Lyons reminded him of a promise that Glaser could withdraw the guilty plea if the judge imposed more than the two years recommended under state sentencing guidelines.

"I'm a little undecided what to do," Glaser told Judge Murphy, who said Glaser could file a motion to with draw the plea before surrendering to the sheriff on June 28.

But doing so could expose him to a longer sentence. As a condition of the guilty plea, Assistant State's Attorney John P. Cox dropped an automobile manslaughter charge with a five-year maximum sentence.

Glaser originally was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison. But because he had paid a $35 fine immediately after the crash for driving the wrong way on the Beltway, the Court of Special Appeals reversed the manslaughter conviction in May 1991.

The court said prosecutors erred in using the fine as proof of Glaser's guilt because it violated his constitutional protection against being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

When the case returned to Baltimore County Circuit Court in September 1991, Judge John Grason Turnbull II dismissed the most serious counts. Prosecutors appealed and won. When the case returned for the third time in April, Glaser pleaded guilty.

After yesterday's hearing, Mr. Jones' relatives were outraged at the judge's willingness to give Glaser 20 days to get his affairs in order.

"It seems like this case is never going to end. My son didn't have any extra time to take care of his family," Pearl Jones said bitterly.

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