Donald DeLong wanted to say goodbye to his son before catching a plane back to Florida. The Carroll County Sheriff's Office said no.
Mr. DeLong was summoned to testify in Carroll County Circuit Court, where Jason Aaron DeLong is on trial charged with first-degree murder in the 1993 stabbing deaths of his mother, Cathryn Brace Farrar, and her boyfriend, George W. "Billy" Wahl.
The elder Mr. DeLong sobbed Monday as he recounted for the jury how he lost his last battle for custody of Jason.
He and his wife, Kim, tried to get a farewell visit with Jason at the detention center after court ended for the day about 4:30 p.m. They reported yesterday that they were told to come back during regular hours by a sheriff's deputy who had said that if he bent rules for them, he would have to bend rules for others.
"Don testified for six hours. You'd think they could give him the courtesy of saying goodbye to his son," Mrs. DeLong said.
Donald DeLong said he could have understood the policy, "if I lived in town and could come back."
He and Mrs. DeLong were scheduled to fly home yesterday, in line with a Florida judge's request to the Carroll court to expedite Donald DeLong's testimony. The elder Mr. DeLong had to close his auto repair shop and lost business from his air-conditioner repair sideline to come to Maryland, which he had told the Florida court created a financial hardship for his family.
Warden Mason Waters said he might have waived the visiting rules if Mr. and Mrs. DeLong had contacted him.
Mr. Waters said he and other administrators who could waive the policy end their workdays at 4 p.m. He said he probably could have arranged a visit before court yesterday if he had gotten an early call.
Donald DeLong said he had been assured by defense attorney Catherine Flynn the visit would be allowed.
Ms. Flynn said she hadn't anticipated a problem. "I haven't had any problems seeing him whenever I wanted to," Ms. Flynn said yesterday. "So, frankly, I just didn't think it would be any trouble."
By the time Ms. Flynn called the detention center to try to arrange a visit between Mr. DeLong and his father, she couldn't reach anyone with authority to override the visiting policy. The only exceptions to the policy are visits from lawyers.
Cpl. Veronica Green said she explained to Ms. Flynn that a special visit could be authorized only by an administrator.
Donald and Kim DeLong had to leave for Baltimore-Washington International Airport before court ended yesterday.