A 19-year-old Annapolis man was convicted of manslaughter yesterday for stabbing an acquaintance after a drug deal went sour.
William A. Graham, of the 100 block of Crane's Crook Lane, could get up to 10 years when he is sentenced on June 24 by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.
Graham could have been convicted of second-degree murder in the June 27, 1995, stabbing death of Michael Wilson David Jones, 17. That charge would have carried a 30-year maximum sentence.
The lack of a murder conviction angered the victim's father. "I think it was a lousy decision, just lousy," said Wilson Jones.
Judge Thieme said he was convinced the slaying was the result of Graham being knocked out by Mr. Jones just before the stabbing.
"There's no question that he [Graham] was unconscious. When he was coming to, there's no question that he wasn't fully cognizant of what was going on around him," Judge Thieme said.
According to testimony, Graham, Mr. Jones and three friends met at Annapolis Mall about 7 p.m. June 26 and went to Cape St. Claire Beach to drink two cases of malt liquor.
Graham drove the group to the Annapolis Gardens housing complex to buy PCP, but after he negotiated to buy drugs, someone ran up to his car and grabbed his wallet containing $300, testimony showed.
Angry, Graham decided to take his friends home, driving at speeds of up to 90 mph along Rowe Boulevard, cursing and slamming his fist against the windshield, according to testimony.
When he reached Mr. Jones' house, in the first block of Old Frederick Road in Arnold, Mr. Jones took Graham's keys out of the ignition and got out of the car, according to testimony of William Tubman, one of the friends.
Mr. Jones dropped the keys in front of the car and confronted Graham. The two men exchanged blows, and Mr. Jones knocked Graham unconscious, Mr. Tubman said.
Graham testified that when he regained consciousness, he saw Mr. Jones approaching him from a few feet away and grabbed a knife from his car because he feared for his life.
"I thought he was going to kill me so I picked up the knife, turned around and stabbed him with it," Graham testified. Graham drove off, but was arrested about 1: 30 a.m., in Annapolis.
Pub Date: 4/17/96