An Annapolis handyman was sentenced to life in prison without parole yesterday for sexually assaulting, beating and fatally stabbing an Arnold woman in her home last year.
Although Albert Givens, 38, maintained that he is innocent during yesterday's hearing in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. said that the evidence supported the jury's verdict.
"This case was like a puzzle and all the pieces fell together," he said before sentencing Givens. "The evidence of your guilt was overwhelming." Givens, an alcoholic, was convicted of first-degree murder April 14. The trial focused on the brutality of the slaying of Marlene Kilpatrick, Givens' inconsistent statements to police about his whereabouts at the time and DNA tests of saliva that placed him at the scene.
In a short statement to the judge before his sentencing, Givens said he had the "deepest sympathy" for Mrs. Kilpatrick, 55, and that she was an "inspiration" to everyone who knew her. "This whole trial has been very confusing to me," he said. "If all the pieces of evidence had been allowed in, we would not be sitting here today."
Givens and his attorney, Timothy Murnane, claimed that investigators uncovered DNA samples that were not his at the crime scene. Saliva left on a soda bottle, subjected to a relatively new DNA test called Polymerase Chain Reaction, led homicide investigators to Givens. His trial was the first court test of the procedure in Maryland.
Mr. Murnane said that he will appeal the sentence. "To me, personally, life without parole is more cruel than the death penalty," he said.
Police said that Mrs. Kilpatrick was killed between 11 p.m. Jan. 1 and 7 a.m. Jan. 2, 1992, by an assailant she had let into her home in the 100 block of Church Road. Givens had worked for Mrs. Kilpatrick as a handyman.
Givens' mother, Ellen Hockenberry, said after the sentencing that she does not consider her son to be capable of murder.
"I had a heart transplant in June 1988, and my son was there constantly for me," she said. "My husband died of cancer in 1991, and Albert was there constantly while he was ill and did everything, including carry him to the bathroom so I could bathe him. How could someone with that kind of compassion do something like this?"