Glen Burnie man gets 1-year term in slaying He also must address pupils on gun control

October 10, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County circuit judge ordered a one-year jail term yesterday for a man who killed another man near a Glen Burnie tavern. The judge then added the unusual probation condition of speaking about gun control at 10 high schools.

"I wish I'd thought of it," said John LeCornu, the assistant state's attorney who had argued for up to 18 months' incarceration followed by exhaustive community service for Michael W. Lovelace, 36, of the 8100 block of Harold Court in Glen Burnie.

LeCornu said he was pleased that Judge Pamela L. North decided to use the case to teach the dangers of guns to young people, who are bringing weapons to school in increasing numbers.

Lovelace will have to speak at 10 high schools in the county within the first year of five years of supervised probation.

Lovelace's lawyer, Philip H. Armstrong, said his client is not a comfortable public speaker and "thinks that is a daunting task."

North formally ordered a 10-year sentence for Lovelace, who had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the April 1996 slaying, but he suspended nine years. Lovelace could be ordered to serve the rest of the term if he violates his probation.

North said that even though Lovelace and George Joseph Miller, 48, argued, the victim might still be alive had Lovelace not become emboldened because he had a handgun.

"A person without a handgun is less confident than a person with a handgun," she said. If he had had no gun, North told Lovelace, he "might have opted for making a phone call instead of handling it the way you did."

The sentence so upset Miller's friend Ruth Ann Blair, in whose arms he died from six gunshots, that she fled the courtroom in tears before the sentencing proceeding ended.

In two letters, she had asked North to sentence Lovelace to the maximum term of 10 years on his plea to voluntary manslaughter. In the letters and a brief statement in court, Blair said she has nightmares about the shooting.

While Blair was in the courtroom, Lovelace turned to her and in a choked voice apologized: "I was there also, and believe me, every day I think about what happened there, just as you do."

Because Lovelace, a computer consultant and van driver, was in jail for six months awaiting trial last year, he will have to serve only two to four months to satisfy the one-year sentence.

Lovelace shot Miller of the first block of Virginia Ave. in Glen Burnie on April 1, 1996, after seeing him argue with Blair and another woman after leaving the Crossroads Tavern in the 7400 block of Ritchie Highway.

Lovelace shot Miller six times during an argument near the bar.

Lovelace's first trial, in October 1996, ended when a jury that had deliberated for nearly three days cleared him of murder charges but deadlocked on the lesser manslaughter and gun charges.

Prosecutors vowed a second trial. But one prosecution witness disappeared and a new one has provided information that corroborates some of Lovelace's account that Miller threatened him with pool cues. Lovelace pleaded guilty to manslaughter in August.

"I feel good that we have branded him as a felon, a man involved in a homicide," LeCornu said.

"This is a mark that will lead people to view him if not with disdain, then at least with suspicion, apprehension and fear."

Pub Date: 10/10/97

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