Arnold man gets life term in teen-ager's death

April 23, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

An Arnold man was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for shooting to death a 16-year-old last year in retaliation for being chased out of an Annapolis neighborhood by the victim and another youth.

Freddie Lee Daniels, 24, of the first block of Old Frederick Road was sentenced by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Martin A. Wolff in the May 6 murder of Dewayne Durley. A jury convicted Daniels of first-degree murder after a two-day trial in December.

Daniels' family criticized the sentence as too harsh, saying the defendant was only trying to defend himself.

"He's a young boy. Everybody makes mistakes, and it just isn't right to throw away someone's life like that," said Tina Fisher, Daniels' aunt.

Fred Paone, assistant state's attorney, said the shooting occurred about 11 a.m. after Durley, a freshman at Annapolis High School, and another youth had approached to chase Daniels out of the Robinwood housing complex.

"He was embarrassed at being driven out of this neighborhood by some kids, so he started shooting," Mr. Paone said.

Daniels' relatives argued that Daniels had reason to fear for his life because testimony showed the Durley youth was the one who initiated the contact and that police found a $20 piece of crack cocaine and $150 in cash on the victim when they arrived.

But Mr. Paone said a state medical examiner's autopsy showed that the Durley youth had been shot in the back. The victim saw Daniels pull a handgun from the waistband of his trousers and was trying to run away when he was shot, Mr. Paone said.

"He [Daniels] had accomplished what he needed to accomplish just by pulling the gun out," Mr. Paone said. "Once that happened, these guys tried to hit the road, big time."

Richard Arnold, Daniels' lawyer, asked Judge Wolff for leniency, saying his client had earned a General Educational Development diploma and had only one criminal conviction -- for selling an undercover police officer macadamia nuts that he tried to pass off as crack in Prince George's County two years ago.

He said the jury easily could have found that Daniels was in a hostile neighborhood and felt threatened.

"Our position is that Mr. Daniels shouldn't have been convicted in the first place," Mr. Arnold said.

But Mr. Paone said claims that Daniels is entitled to leniency because the victim was carrying crack cocaine were "outrageous."

"This guy shot somebody in the back, in cold blood, and he deserves every day that he gets," Mr. Paone said.

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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