Woman pleads with judges to free her son from life sentences for murder

May 18, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Although her son has served but seven years of a double life sentence for the 1987 murder of a South Carroll High School student, Brian Jordan's mother told a panel of Anne Arundel County judges that he has learned his lesson and is ready to leave prison.

"Brian took part in something that should not have happened," Anna Jordan Reardon said yesterday during her son's latest bid to shorten his sentence for the murder of Richard Purman.

"He has been in jail for some time now. He has learned a lesson; he knows his involvement in this crime.

"I just feel that at this point, he has served his sentence, and I think he could join society and make a positive contribution to society," she said.

The hourlong hearing before Anne Arundel Circuit Judges Eugene M. Lerner, Bruce C. Williams and Martin A. Wolff was Jordan's chance to argue for a lighter sentence. The panel, which will release its decision in writing at a later date, can reduce his sentence or leave it unchanged.

The hearing, originally scheduled to be heard before three Carroll judges, was moved to Annapolis on Monday after two judges in Carroll removed themselves from the proceedings.

Jordan, 23, of Columbia and Brian M. Tracy, 23, of Taylorsville were convicted in 1988 for young Purman's murder. The 17-year-old was shot in the chest in a secluded area of Taylorsville.

Both defendants were sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus 20 years. They were both 16 at the time of the murder. Various courts have vacated 20 years of Jordan's sentences and 10 years of Tracy's terms.

While Jordan's mother and his defense attorney portrayed him as a passive follower in the Purman youth's killing, Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman called Jordan a vicious killer.

"This country is full of young coldblooded killers, and this is one of them," Mr. Hickman said, pointing at Jordan, who was seated less than 10 feet away. "The victim in this case got the death penalty. And his family . . . got a life sentence with no chance for parole."

As he has every time one of his son's killers comes to court seeking a lesser sentence, James Purman sat in the small courtroom yesterday and listened. He listened to J. Barry Hughes, Jordan's lawyer, argue that his client deserves to have one of his life sentences lifted so that "he could see some light at the end of the tunnel."

He listened when Jordan suggested that he was less responsible for the murder than Tracy was. Mr. Purman shook his head and wiped away a tear.

But he wasn't allowed to say anything.

"I feel sad, I feel empty, I feel angry, raped and flogged; not only by the murder itself, but the aftermath of trials, sentencings and these seemingly unending appeals," Mr. Purman wrote in a letter that the three-judge panel declined to read. "Richard was innocent, I am innocent, my family is innocent. We are victims, yet we keep being flogged as if we deserved it."

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