Man is given 15 years in Severn slaying

March 02, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 21-year-old Arnold man was sentenced in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday to 15 years in prison for killing a Severn man after a pickup basketball game last April.

Judge Eugene M. Lerner said Raymond Sommerville's lack of a criminal record worked in his favor, but the young man had to go to prison.

"Everybody, when they come in here, says, 'If I could bring that person back, I would,' " Judge Lerner told Sommerville, of the 1000 block of Brightleaf Court. "But this is the taking of a human being's life, and that life is gone forever, never to be brought back."

Sommerville, who played guard for Meade High School in the 1990-1991 season, could have been sentenced to up to 30 years in prison after a jury convicted him Jan. 7 of second-degree murder in the shooting of Robert Lee Hall, 21, of the 1800 block of Richfield Drive, Severn.

According to testimony, Sommerville and Mr. Hall got into a fistfight after a pickup game around 8 p.m. April 7. The fight occurred near the victim's home.

Mr. Hall got Sommerville in a headlock, but released him when one of Sommerville's friends put a pistol to Mr. Hall's head and ordered him to let go. Sommerville then grabbed the gun, taunted Mr. Hall and shot him in the head as he tried to run away.

Sommerville's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Paul Hazelhurst, had argued that Sommerville was guilty of manslaughter, not murder, because Mr. Hall beat him up. He also said Sommerville grabbed the gun and fired in a fit of rage.

Assistant State's Attorney Fred Paone emphasized that Mr. Hall was running away when he was shot, and that 40 seconds elapsed between the fight and the shooting. He said this showed the shooting to have been an act of retribution.

Yesterday, Mr. Paone said the murder "absolutely shattered" the victim's family.

The victim's father, Robert Lee Hall Sr., 46, said that Sommerville killed his only child and that he had hoped Sommerville would be put behind bars for life.

"You don't shoot a man in the back and kill him and get 15 years, it's not fair," said Mr. Hall, head custodian for the Calvert County Board of Education. "When are they going to start making examples of these people? That's what they ought to do. The punishment should fit the crime."

Kevin Green, the defendant's brother, said the killing would not have occurred if an acquaintance hadn't shown up with a gun.

"What I think is, we don't need any more guns out there," Mr. Green said.

Paul Eugene "Bone" Turner, 18, of the 8600 block of Pioneer Drive, Severn, also has been charged with first-degree murder. He allegedly gave Sommerville the gun, said Mr. Paone.

No trial date has been set in his case.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.