Mintzer guilty of attempted murder of wife

February 27, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A 53-year-old Baltimore man who doused his estranged wife with gasoline in her Edgewood home and held a lighted match 12 inches from her face pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in Circuit Court Tuesday.

Judge William O. Carr scheduled April 11 as the sentencing date for Robert Joseph Mintzer, who broke into the residence of his wife, 51-year-old Mary Kathleen Mintzer, in the 300 block of Palmetto Drive on Aug. 8, 1993.

In doing so, Mintzer violated a July 26, 1993, court order to stay away from her.

According to the plea arrangement, Mintzer will serve no more than 25 years in prison and no fewer than 15.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to attempted arson, battery and reckless endangerment as well as the attempted murder of his wife and Robert James Lawson, 27, a neighbor who heard the woman screaming and came to her rescue.

Mr. Lawson confronted Mintzer in the living room of the three-bedroom duplex townhouse.

He waited for the match to burn out, and then rushed Mintzer, who pulled an 11-inch, bone-handled hunting knife from behind his back and tried to stab him.

Court evidence showed that Mr. Lawson managed to subdue Mintzer with the help of the woman's stepson, 18-year-old Phillip Armand Nolet.

Mr. Nolet and Mrs. Mintzer were treated for gasoline burns at Harford Memorial Hospital and released.

Police praised Mr. Lawson for his quick action at the time of the incident.

"There's no doubt Mr. Lawson prevented a potential devastation," said Sgt. Jordan Watts of the sheriff's criminal investigation division.

Emergency Operations Chief James Terrell said that if Mintzer's match had ignited the gasoline, both homes would have been destroyed within five minutes.

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