For gouging inmate's eye man gets 10 more years

April 13, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 33-year-old laborer was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday for putting out the eye of a fellow inmate at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center during an argument over some cupcakes.

Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Eugene M. Lerner told Richard C. Lewis of Annapolis that he would have sentenced him to 25 years if the law allowed, but that the maximum for his crime -- mayhem -- is 10 years.

"This is just outrageous," Judge Lerner told Lewis. "You would think that a person who had been sentenced to jail would at least be safe, in an institution like a jail."

Judge Lerner convicted Lewis Feb. 24 of putting out the eye of Richard Anderson, 41, of the 3900 block of Brooklyn with a broomstick during an argument June 9, 1993.

Assistant State's Attorney William C. Mulford II said Anderson was sweeping the hall near Lewis' cell shortly after 11 a.m. when the two inmates began arguing. Lewis, who was locked in his cell, accused Anderson of taking his money to buy cupcakes from the jail commissary and not delivering them as promised, Mr. Mulford said.

Anderson denied taking the money and making any promise to deliver cupcakes, Mr. Mulford said.

He said as Anderson bent down to pick up debris, he was hit in the left eye with the handle of a broom supplied to Lewis to clean his cell.

The blow knocked out Anderson, who was sent by MedEvac helicopter to the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment.

Anderson has lost his eye and suffered dizziness, some loss of balance and has trouble performing simple motor skills, Mr. Mulford said.

In court yesterday, Lewis said that he didn't mean to knock out Anderson's eye, and only meant to get him away from his cell.

"I didn't mean to injure the guy," he said. "It was a accident."

But Mr. Mulford called Lewis' criminal history "probably the worst" he had ever seen.

Lewis had been convicted of more than 25 offenses, including possession with intent to distribute cocaine, battery, theft, assault, daytime housebreaking and malicious destruction of property, he said.

Richard Baker, superintendent at the Detention Center, said at the time of the offense Lewis had been serving an 18-month sentence on a drug distribution conviction and Anderson had been waiting to be tried on a theft charge.

A spokeswoman for the state Division of Correction said yesterday that Anderson was at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown on a theft conviction.

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