David Teddy Yoswick insists that if his attorney had told him his first shot at parole would come 15 years into his prison sentence rather than the 10 years he believed, he never would have pleaded guilty to almost killing a Baltimore businessman two years ago.
But in a decision filed yesterday on Yoswick's August request for new trial, Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. all but said, "Too bad."
Yoswick of Overlea pleaded guilty in August 1992 to attempted first-degree murder and kidnapping in the abduction of Frank Allen Storch, who was left for dead beside a creek near Sykesville on Feb. 26, 1992.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped some charges and agreed to a sentence of life in prison on the attempted murder charge and 30 years for the kidnapping charge.
All but 40 years of Yoswick's life sentence was suspended. The 30-year kidnapping term runs concurrently with the attempted murder sentence.
At the time of the plea, Yoswick said his lawyer told him that he would be eligible for a parole hearing a quarter of the way through his sentence. Since he was sentenced to 40 years, he assumed, court records show, that he would get his first parole hearing in 2003.
But parole officials have told him that since he actually is serving a life sentence -- despite the suspension of all but 40 years -- he will have to wait at least until 2008 for his first chance at parole.
The difference in parole eligibility won little sympathy from Judge Beck.
He said Yoswick's contention that his lawyer's failure to tell him about the five-year difference was more than outweighed by her ability to secure "an exceptionally generous plea bargain" for her client.
"The potential period of incarceration which [Yoswick] avoided by pleading guilty outweighs the five year differential in parole eligibility," Judge Beck wrote. "Although [Yoswick] claims he would not have pled guilty had he known the truth, the court finds this statement to be self-serving at best."
Had he gone to trial and been convicted, Yoswick could have been sentenced to life plus 70 years. Under that sentence, his first parole hearing wouldn't take place until 2025.
During a previously heard -- and unsuccessful -- request for a sentence reduction, Yoswick argued that his sentence was unfair when compared with the 25-year term given to Karen Sue Pulido, 33, his accomplice.
"Your honor, I'm only 26 years old, and I'm going to be locked away with hardened criminals for most of my younger years," Yoswick said at the 1993 hearing. "In the best interests of justice, I hope you will consider mercy."
Pulido of Elkridge pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and armed robbery charges, but agreed, in return for the dropping of 18 other charges, to let the prosecution enter a statement of facts that contained sufficient evidence to convict her.
According to court records, Mr. Storch, a private detective and real estate management company president who is a friend of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, was abducted by the pair on Feb. 25, 1992.
They forced him to withdraw money from an automated teller machine at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and handcuffed him to a toilet in a hotel room. The next day, Yoswick threatened to kill him.
Mr. Storch was found limping near a creek along Arrington Road in Sykesville. He had been stabbed several times in the stomach.