3 men get 10 years each in death of 16-year-old Youth was stripped, hog-tied, bound to tree after bout of drinking

July 02, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Three men were each sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday for a crime captured on videotape -- the death of a 16-year-old Lothian youth who was stripped, hog-tied, bound to a tree and left to die after he passed out during a night of heavy drinking.

Daniel L. Corridean, 20, of Lothian, Ryan G. Massey, 21, of Upper Marlboro and Brian M. Wagaman, 19, of Chesapeake Beach told an emotionally charged Anne Arundel Circuit courtroom that they never intended to hurt the victim, Dennis S. Roche, after he left their party about 3: 30 a.m. Aug. 13 to pass out on a front lawn of a home in Lyons Creek Mobile Estates in Lothian.

Wagaman, who also pleaded guilty to second-degree sex offense for prodding the victim with a brush handle, was so overcome with emotion that he could barely be heard as he tearfully pleaded for leniency at the close of the three-hour hearing.

"If I could give up my life for his, I would," Wagaman said through tears.

Judge Raymond G. Thieme agreed that as individuals the defendants -- a day-care worker, a construction worker and an apprentice plumber -- probably never would have committed such acts.

But the judge found it most disturbing that they videotaped the assault and viewed the tape for amusement while the youth was still tied up and passed out in the back yard. Such behavior probably was prompted by the same kind of mass psychology that gave rise to the death camps in Nazi Germany, he said.

"These people would probably be selling souvenir T-shirts at Auschwitz," Judge Thieme said.

The three pleaded guilty in Anne Arundel Circuit Court April 31 to involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the Roche youth was tied up with a jump rope, kicked, sprayed in the face with a garden hose, stripped naked, spat and urinated on and prodded after passing out on a lawn.

He was found dead the next afternoon.

An autopsy determined that he died of positional asphyxia, a form of suffocation brought on by being bound and beaten, said M. Virginia Miles, an assistant state's attorney.

State sentencing guidelines called for three- to eight-year sentences.

The judge's cavernous courtroom was packed with about 100 friends and relatives of both the victim and the defendants, with many tearfully pleading for either justice or mercy.

Gary Roche, the victim's father, recalled how he held his son in his arms shortly after he was born.

He said the death of the younger of two sons ended several family traditions, including carving four pumpkins at Halloween and going into the woods together each winter to cut down a Christmas tree.

"I try to think about the good times, about us going fishing together, about playing basketball together in the yard," Roche told the judge, his voice rising with anger. "But it all comes back to how he died. I've had dreams at night, where I dream he's calling out to me, asking me to help him."

Turning to face the defendants, Roche said, "they sat around and watched my son die, after they tortured him."

When Gary E. Davis, Massey's lawyer, argued that the autopsy on the Roche youth showed traces of methamphetamine in his system, the victim's father jumped up out of his seat and shouted, 'hey, wait a minute,' before he was approached and calmed down by two of the seven sheriff's deputies specially assigned to the court.

Judy Wagaman said that her son was influenced by alcohol and that the crime was an aberration in an otherwise crime-free life.

"I can understand your hate for us. It has affected us greatly. I pray for you daily, and I pray for us daily," she told the Roche family.

Afterward, Judy Wagaman said that she thought the sentence was unfair because unlike the other defendants, her son never kicked the Roche youth, nor struck him.

"I blame what happened on the alcohol. That is not my son. That is not my son's character," she said, shaking her head.

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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