Judge denies killer's request for reduced sentence

February 16, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Brian Jordan, who is serving two consecutive life terms for the 1987 murder of a South Carroll High School student, has lost his bid for a shorter sentence.

In an order filed yesterday in Carroll Circuit Court, Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. denied Jordan's sentence reduction request, saying his sentence was appropriate.

The judge's decision, which was signed Monday, came more than two years after Jordan pleaded to Judge Burns for a lower sentence at a court hearing in December 1991.

At the hearing, Jordan, his mother, sister, attorney and others portrayed Jordan as a man who had turned his life around inside prison.

Jordan, 23, of Columbia and Brian M. Tracy, 23, of Taylorsville were convicted in 1988 of the 1987 murder of Richard Purman in a secluded area in Taylorsville. Each was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus 20 years. They were both 16 at the time of the murder.

The Maryland Court of Appeals has since vacated 10 years on both men's sentences, calling the additional time redundant. Judge Burns vacated an additional 10 years of Jordan's sentence with Monday's order.

"Both of these fellows would kill again if they are ever let out," Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said of Jordan and Tracy. "We would have sought the death penalty if we hadn't been legally barred from doing so because of their age."

Tracy also has sought reductions in his sentence, which have been denied.

Mr. Hickman recalls Richard Purman's murder as one of Carroll's most shocking.

On Nov. 22, 1987, Jordan, Tracy and Dawn Torres, who also was 16 at the time of the murder, escaped from the Sykesville Shelter Home. They called Richard, an acquaintance from high school, and persuaded him to give them a ride.

In Taylorsville, Tracy shot Richard in the chest, intending to seal his 1976 Chevy Malibu. When the car wouldn't start, the three returned to the shelter, where they were later arrested. Torres cooperated with the state's attorney's office, and her case was handled in Juvenile Court.

J. Barry Hughes, Jordan's defense attorney, declined to comment yesterday on Judge Burns' decision. He said the next legal move would likely be a hearing in front of a three-judge panel. At such a hearing, the judges can modify the sentence or leave it unchanged.

If the panel leaves Jordan's sentence unchanged, he would not be eligible for parole until 2013.

For more than two years, Jordan has been serving his time in Maryland's toughest prison, the so-called Supermax facility in Baltimore, where he was transferred from the Maryland Penitentiary after he incited a work stoppage, Division of Correction records show.

He was moved to the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, the Supermax prison, less than two months after the sentence-reduction hearing.

James Purman, Richard's father and a local activist for victim's rights, could not be reached yesterday for comment. But in letters to Judge Burns, he said, "I feel like I'm not living in the here and now, but in some past-future fantasy where . . . Richard is. I go out with friends, pay my bills, do chores, but always my mind and heart are far, far away.""

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