A Carroll circuit judge has refused to shorten the 30-year state prison sentence being served by a Reisterstown man convicted in the January 1993 shooting death of a Westminster man.
Judge Francis M. Arnold told Samuel Allen Miller on Monday that he was far luckier than the victim, Gregory Lamont Howard, a bystander who died from a shotgun blast to the heart after a soured drug deal on South Center Street.
The judge called the death a tragedy. He said, however, that he would recommend Miller's transfer from the Eastern Correctional Institute on the Eastern Shore to the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, where Miller can participate in educational and vocational programs.
Miller, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last summer in exchange for the 30-year sentence. As part of his plea bargain, prosecutors dropped first-degree murder charges against him.
During the hearing, Miller's wife, mother, grandfather and two close friends testified that he was a good man who has known pain all his life. When Miller took the stand, he apologized to Patricia Winfield, Mr. Howard's mother.
Miller fired the gun that killed Mr. Howard.
Daniel Justin Leonard, who owned the gun and the car, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in September.
The third defendant, Timothy Cumberland, who neither shot the gun nor owned the getaway car but whose desire for revenge on a drug dealer led to the slaying, was convicted of first-degree murder last month.