Woman's sentence cut in half

June 16, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 25-year-old Glen Burnie woman's 14-year sentence for attempted murder was cut in half yesterday because of an appellate court ruling that partially reversed her conviction.

Sherry Ann Pappas also had been convicted of assault with intent to murder and illegal use of a handgun for firing four bullets into her ex-boyfriend's house. The Court of Special Appeals vacated her conviction on those charges.

The court said Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Lawrence Rushworth erred when he denied a request by Pappas' lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Robert Waldman, to instruct jurors that they should acquit Pappas if they believed she didn't know anyone was in the house at the time she fired.

The appeals court affirmed Pappas' convictions of assault, reckless endangerment and illegal transportation of a handgun. Yesterday, Judge Rushworth reimposed the seven-year term he meted out for those convictions March 24.

He also gave Pappas credit for time served dating back to Sept. 24, 1992, when she was first incarcerated. The addition of this credit means Pappas could be released from the Women's House of Correction in about a year, Mr. Waldman said.

Pappas was convicted Jan. 25 after a two-day trial in which she admitted firing into the house she and her boyfriend, Michael M. Smith, 29, shared in the 6400 block of Colonial Knoll Road in Glen Burnie.

According to testimony, a few days before the shooting Mr. Smith called police during an argument in which he asked Pappas to leave. Police told Pappas she had to leave the house because Mr. Smith had bought it and it was in his name.

As she walked away, police ran a records check that showed Pappas had an outstanding warrant. She was arrested and spent the next two days in the Prince George's County jail on a parole violation that later turned out to be a mistake. After her release, she called Mr. Smith several times to find out when she could pick up her clothes. She made the last call about 2 a.m. on May 8, saying she was coming over.

Roger Loveless, a friend of Mr. Smith's, testified that he went to the home because of threats Pappas had made. The two men slept on the couch with a handgun between them, Mr. Loveless testified.

On her way to Mr. Smith's house, Pappas stopped at an acquaintance's house in Severn, broke in and took a .45-caliber semiautomatic Colt pistol, according to testimony.

She fired four shots into the first floor of Mr. Smith's house. Mr. Smith was in a second-floor bedroom at the time. One of the bullets passed over the head of Mr. Loveless, who had been staying on the first floor.

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