Glen Burnie man is convicted of murder Longtime friend shot in dispute over alcohol

January 30, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 29-year-old computer programmer was convicted of second-degree murder in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday after he admitted shooting a friend during an argument over beer.

Timothy J. Fisher, of the 400 block of Sixth Ave., Glen Burnie, could receive up to a 30-year prison term when he is sentenced March 18 by Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.

Fisher entered an Alford plea in the July 29, 1995, death of Raymond Knapp, 27, of the 1600 block of Tieman Drive, Glen Burnie.

Under an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that the state has sufficient evidence to win a conviction if the case were tried.

Wayne J. Cymek, Fisher's lawyer, said his client insists that the shooting was an accident. But he said that Fisher pleaded guilty because he knows he caused a friend's death and he could have been convicted of first-degree murder if the case were tried.

"He acknowledges that he did something wrong and he's willing to be held accountable for it," Mr. Cymek said.

In exchange for the Alford plea, Assistant State's Attorney Michael O. Bergeson agreed to recommend a 20-year maximum sentence and to drop a handgun charge, which carries a mandatory five-year sentence.

Mr. Bergeson said that Fisher, the victim, the victim's 19-year-old brother and two friends took two cases of beer into the woods behind the home Fisher shared with his grandparents about 1 p.m.

Fisher, who had been playing with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun during the party, gave Mr. Knapp $20 to get more beer when the supply ran out. Fisher began complaining when he took more than 45 minutes to return, Mr. Bergeson said.

"He joked that he ought to shoot him because it was taking him so long to get the beer," Mr. Bergeson told the court.

When Mr. Knapp returned shortly before 5 p.m., the two argued. At one point, Mr. Knapp asked Fisher if he was mad at him for taking so long.

Fisher responded: "If I was mad at you, I would've done this." Fisher put Mr. Knapp in a headlock, placed the gun against his head and pulled the trigger, Mr. Bergeson said.

Mr. Bergeson said Fisher rushed to his house yelling for help and told police when they arrived that he had shot his longtime friend.

After yesterday's hearing, Fisher's mother approached the victim's mother outside the courtroom, apologized and hugged her.

"I feel terrible, absolutely terrible," Patricia Fisher later said. "It could have been any one of them [killed]."

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