Slaying victim's daughter nabs probation violator But judge excuses man's first violation

July 14, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Nena Gonet was surprised when she looked up from her table at an Annapolis restaurant in May to see who had taken a seat two tables away -- the man convicted in her father's death.

Gonet knew that Adam Schlossman was supposed to be under house arrest, which meant being at work, performing community service or staying in his Annapolis apartment.

But there he was at the Court of Shanghai restaurant on West Street, sipping an orange-flavored drink with someone who appeared to be a date, she said.

"I was flabbergasted," Gonet told an Anne Arundel Circuit judge Friday at a hearing to determine if Schlossman should be sent back to jail for his restaurant appearance.

Schlossman, 24, of Annapolis and Theodore Reshetiloff, 24, of Baltimore were convicted in 1994 in the 1992 death of a homeless alcoholic who frequented the woods near their Annapolis neighborhood.

Both were convicted of manslaughter in the death of Arch Baldwin, a 62-year-old Army veteran and former heavy equipment operator who died in July 1992 after he was pelted with stones, pushed into a gully and had beer and debris poured on him.

A state medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, saying the victim died of a heart failure brought on by the stress of the harassment.

Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. sentenced both men May 4, 1994, to 18 months on work release and five years of supervised probation, the first 2 1/2 years under house arrest. They also were ordered to perform 1,020 hours of community service and to refrain from alcohol.

Reshetiloff was sentenced Thursday to 18 months for violating the terms of his probation by failing to answer the telephone 36 times between Nov. 5, 1995, and July 6, 1996, while under court-ordered house arrest.

But Judge Heller on Friday declined to sentence Schlossman to jail, saying he should be excused for his first violation.

"I don't see a purpose to be served by sending Mr. Schlossman back," he said.

Gonet had asked that Schlossman be put behind bars. She said that her father's death still haunts her and that she placed a handwritten letter in his coffin promising to pursue justice on his behalf.

"I find myself in crowds of people still searching for him," she told the judge in a voice that rose with emotion.

Gonet, who refused to give her address when she took the stand, testified that she saw Schlossman shortly after 7 p.m. May 10 at the Chinese restaurant and that she called the police and had him arrested.

Gonet and her family have filed a $35 million wrongful death suit in Anne Arundel Circuit Court against Schlossman and three co-defendants.

She initially testified that he was in the restaurant about 30 minutes, but later admitted that the time seemed a blur to her.

"Any amount of time I spend in the same room with Adam Schlossman seems like an eternity," she said.

Keith Krissoff, Schlossman's lawyer, said his client was there only to order take-out food. He said Schlossman asked the police officer who arrived if he could have a blood test so he could prove that he had not been drinking.

He said Schlossman is working as a waiter at Armadillo's restaurant in Annapolis and volunteering at Quiet Waters Park near Annapolis to fulfill his community service requirements.

He said that Schlossman had just finished a shift that night at Quiet Waters Park, went home to change and had driven to the restaurant to pick up a take-out order.

"I think there's a legitimate question as to what the rules are here," Krissoff said.

Georgina Phillips, Schlossman's house arrest supervisor, testified that Schlossman had faithfully answered the half-dozen telephone calls made to his home every day since his release from jail March 27, 1995.

"I have had no problems with him, other than this one incident," she said.

But Gonet said it is difficult to accept that her encounter with Schlossman was his first violation of the house arrest rules.

PD "It certainly makes you wonder what else is going on," she said.

Pub Date: 7/14/96

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