N.Y. man expected to plead guilty to role in October slaying of trooper 20-year sentence part of negotiated plea

August 01, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

The cousin of a man who is on death row for the October murder of a Maryland state trooper on the Eastern Shore is expected to plead guilty this morning in federal court in Baltimore for his role in the crime in exchange for a 20-year sentence.

In an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office, William Smith Lynch will plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and the use of a weapon in a drug conspiracy leading to death, said his attorney, William B. Purpura.

Lynch, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged along with his cousin, Ivan Lovell of Manteo, N.C., in the Oct. 17 slaying of Tfc. Edward Plank Jr. during a routine traffic stop on U.S. 13 near Princess Anne.

Lynch was accompanying Lovell as he drove home to North Carolina after a drug buying trip to New York when Plank stopped them for speeding in the early morning hours. Inside the car were 1 1/2 kilos of cocaine and a .45-caliber Llama semiautomatic handgun. Lovell shot Plank in the face and killed him, and both men fled.

Lovell, who was shot by Plank's partner, was arrested a short time later, and Lynch was arrested a day later.

Both men were charged with first-degree murder by the Somerset County state's attorney. Lovell pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, drug and handgun charges in May, saying he wanted the state to drop the murder charges against Lynch. Lovell was sentenced to death in June.

State charges were dropped against Lynch, but he was indicted a short time later by a federal grand jury. His six-count indictment included two charges of murder while involved in a drug conspiracy, which could have resulted in a death sentence.

The maximum sentence under the two charges to which he will plead guilty today is life in prison without parole, but Lynch is expected to receive a lighter sentence.

"He's going to plead guilty to an agreed-upon sentence of 20 years," Purpura said.

"This is a negotiated plea between the government, the state police, the Plank family and the defense."

Purpura said that, to the best of his knowledge, the charge of use of a weapon in a drug conspiracy leading to death, to which Lynch will plead guilty, has never been used in Maryland. It was created by a federal law passed in 1994.

Pub Date: 8/01/96

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