Annapolis man, 18, guilty of fatal shooting

January 19, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

An 18-year-old Annapolis man pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court for fatally shooting a man in July near where the victim's brother, a popular basketball star in the Annapolis area, was slain four years before.

Richard Sterling Crowner of the 1800 block of Bowman Court entered an Alford plea to the July 12 shooting death of Sylvester Green, 30, of the 100 block of Eastport Terrace in Annapolis. The plea was made to Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.

An Alford plea means the defendant is not admitting guilt, but acknowledges that the prosecution would have sufficient evidence to win a conviction if the case were tried.

Mr. Green was found dead at about 11 p.m. July 12 by police who were called to the 1800 block of Bowman Court.

The shooting occurred a few yards from where Reno Green, 21, a star center at Annapolis Senior High School, was shot to death July 8, 1989, police said.

Assistant State's Attorney Fred Paone said the victim had robbed Crowner the night before the killing, putting a sawed-off, pump-action shotgun to Crowner's chest and demanding that he turn over the $200 he was carrying.

In a statement to police, Crowner admitted that he had collected the $200 from drug sales, according to court records.

The day after the robbery, the victim warned Crowner that he was going to get him, repeatedly threatened him and told him, "You're dead tonight," because Crowner had resisted when he was robbed the night before, Mr. Paone said.

Mr. Paone said a friend of Crowner's gave him a handgun shortly before he was approached by the victim. He said the two chased each other around some parked cars before Crowner shot victim as he was reaching for an object in his pants.

Witnesses said the victim's gun was never recovered, but was taken from his body by a passer-by before police arrived, Mr. Paone said.

Crowner faces a maximum of 10 years when sentenced March 4 by Judge Thieme.

Mr. Paone said that as part of the plea agreement, he will recommend a sentence that falls within the state sentencing guidelines for the case, which call for a three- to eight-year term.

Assistant Public Defender Mark Blumberg said that he will argue at sentencing that Crowner was only acting in self-defense.

He said that Crowner had been robbed twice that week by the victim, and that the victim was seen threatening Crowner and firing several shots into the air on the night he was killed.

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