Man gets work release in fatal crash

March 08, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Sun Staff Writer

An Edgewood man convicted of killing two people while driving drunk received a sentence of 14 months on work release yesterday, bringing cries of disbelief from the victims' family in a Baltimore County courtroom.

"You call this justice?" one family member yelled. Others began crying and ran out of the courtroom as Circuit Judge Christian Kahl sentenced Sean Patrick Hall, 24, of the 800 block of Cloverleaf Court.

Hall wept and incoherently apologized to dozens of angry family members in the courtroom. His girlfriend of one year told the judge that Hall has had screaming nightmares since the accident on Aug. 7

Hall pleaded guilty on Jan. 6 to two counts of automobile manslaughter and one count of driving while intoxicated in the deaths of Jerome Robert Barrett, 39, of Wild Flower Court near Parkville and his 11-year-old nephew, James N. Cianos III of Sykesville.

After the sentencing, Evelyn "Fran" Barrett, 38, who survived the crash that killed her husband and nephew, said, "I had to remove two precious bodies out of an inferno . . . and he talks about nightmares. It's outrageous.

"I thought somehow I didn't get killed so I could see justice done. I should have been killed with them."

Defense attorney Robert Stange said Hall, a mechanic for Chemetals Inc., hasn't had a drink and hasn't driven since the crash.

During the hearing, Judge Kahl would not hear from the victims' families, leading to bitter denunciations inside and outside the courtroom.

"Nothing they can say will bring these victims back or in any way change what has happened," the judge said. He noted that he already had read the relatives' statements and was running a half an hour late for another case.

The statement of facts in the case said the Barretts and Jimmy were on their way to Ocean City on a vacation trip when the accident occurred. Near the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge, Hall's 1991 Toyota pickup came across the center line and slammed into their 1985 Mitsubishi pickup, driving it into a concrete barrier, where it caught on fire.

Prosecutor John P. Cox asked for a "substantial" prison sentence. The guidelines -- because Hall had a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated -- called for one to six years.

In 1991, Hall completed a two-year probation before judgment sentence for driving while intoxicated.

"I could do something to this man that would essentially take his life away, but I can't see doing that," Judge Kahl said.

He then sentenced Hall to serve 14 months at the county Detention Center with a recommendation for work release, followed by four years of probation with alcohol counseling.

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