Teen gets 45 years for carjack-shooting

January 12, 1995|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

Struggling to check his emotions while pondering grisly images of the crime, a Baltimore judge yesterday sentenced a teen-ager to 45 years in prison for shooting kindergarten teacher Julie Lombardi in the face during a foiled carjacking.

"I have never seen such a dichotomy and contrast of good and evil. On that February day, the forces of good and evil met in a way no novelist or poet or criminologist could ever imagine," Circuit Judge Clifton J. Gordy said before sentencing 17-year-old Xavier Cornelius Wilson.

"Mr. Wilson is nothing less than a predator in our society," the judge added. "His whole history is: He abided by the law of the gun."

Judge Gordy said the case, in which an unremorseful gang member attacked a woman who spent two decades nurturing an impoverished neighborhood's children, moved him like few had in his 10 years on the bench. He hesitated and swallowed when bTC he described the most haunting vision -- the teacher's teeth lying in the passenger seat of her car.

Meanwhile, Wilson slouched in his chair, never changing the expression on his face. He offered no apology.

On that issue, his lawyer, Kirk R. Osborn, pointed to Wilson's IQ of 68 and lack of family support, and said, "Everyone would like to see it, but given his level of functioning, I don't think it's something we should expect to see from him."

After the hearing, Mrs. Lombardi said, "As a kindergarten teacher, my children always said they were sorry if they did something wrong. Even a 5-year-old can say he's sorry."

Mrs. Lombardi, 42, taught at Malcolm X Elementary School in Northwest Baltimore for 20 years, passing up opportunities to teach in safer neighborhoods.

As she drove from the school parking lot last Feb. 1, she was shot through the face by a would-be carjacker. Her nose and upper jaw were broken and her palate was shattered. She says she suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome, and is waiting for an operation to graft bone from her hip to further rebuild her jaw.

Trial testimony showed that Wilson lurked around the school that day, carrying a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and waiting for a chance to steal the teacher's 1988 Acura Legend for parts for his own Acura. Although he was 16 at the time of the shooting, he was convicted in November as an adult of assault with intent to murder, attempted armed carjacking, attempted armed robbery and weapons violations.

He could have been sentenced to 100 years in prison. Prosecutor Donald Giblin asked that Wilson be sentenced to at least 50 years. Afterward, Mr. Giblin said he was satisfied with the sentence, and said Wilson would probably have to serve 20 years before he would be seriously considered for parole.

Wilson also received a five-year, concurrent sentence yesterday for the November 1993 armed robbery of two women on their way to church. Mr. Giblin said Wilson, who spent most of 1993 in a juvenile jail for his role in another shooting, is an admitted drug dealer who was becoming increasingly dangerous.

During yesterday's hearing, Mrs. Lombardi said, "As a teacher I am particularly saddened by this young man's total lack of self-respect and lack of respect for human life. I have spent 20 years teaching children to love one another, to believe in themselves and to aim high. Xavier Wilson -- with malice, believing in violence -- aimed a gun at my head and fired."

After the hearing, she said she hopes to return to teaching, but "this is going to take some time."

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