Man who killed father sentenced to 16 years Victim had threatened to divorce his wife, throw son out of house

November 07, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie man was sentenced to 16 years in prison yesterday for bludgeoning his father to death with a baseball bat, shortly after the father threatened to throw him out of the house.

William F. Hollowak Jr., 19, of the 300 block of King George Drive, was sentenced in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday by Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. of the Court of Special Appeals.

Thieme, elevated to the appeals court last week, was designated to sentence Hollowak because he accepted his guilty plea to second-degree murder Sept. 16 while he was still a circuit judge.

Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris told Thieme yesterday that the slaying of William F. Hollowak Sr. in 1995 shattered the victim's family and was completely unprovoked.

"There was no physical threat by the father at any time during this incident," Ferris said.

Ferris said the victim had threatened to divorce his wife, Theresa Hollowak, and throw his son out of the house during an argument Sept. 18, 1995, that began when the mother returned from a weeklong trip to Florida earlier that day.

Ferris said the argument ended when the victim left the house to buy a pack of cigarettes at about 8 p.m. Hollowak ambushed his father as he returned through the front door, striking him in the head with a bat, she said.

Mrs. Hollowak ran to a neighbor's house and police were called, Ferris said. Hollowak fled when he heard approaching police sirens, but was apprehended about a mile away.

Ferris said the son's only motive was his frustration and anger at the threat of being thrown out of the house.

"He wasn't going to have anywhere to live because his father was going to divorce his mother and throw him out, and this is how he chose to deal with it," Ferris said, as the defendant's sister, Christine Wolfe, sobbed in a courtroom seat a few rows behind her brother.

Peter S. O'Neill, Hollowak's lawyer, said that his client was always protective of his mother and that he suffered from learning disabilities and emotional problems that prevented him from developing beyond the mental level of a 10-year-old.

He said Hollowak's father belittled him over the years.

"He is mentally handicapped, he is emotionally handicapped, and he is constantly being berated by his own father, who's using words like 'retard' and 'loser,' " O'Neill told the court.

O'Neill said Mrs. Hollowak also was constantly threatening to commit suicide and often gave her son drugs and alcohol, so that Hollowak was abusing drugs by the age of 12.

The killing was not planned, but was the result of a lifetime of anger mixed with the sudden fear of being thrown out of the only home that he had ever known, O'Neill said.

"The relationships here were like a powder keg waiting to explode, and that's what happened in this case," he said.

Wolfe and other relatives declined to comment after the sentencing. But in letters to Thieme, the victim's sisters and mother asked for a sentence much stiffer than the 12 to 20 years recommended in state sentencing guidelines.

"My son was no angel, but he didn't deserve to die like he did," wrote Martha Hollowak, the victim's mother.

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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