Parents wait to see killer dieOn Nov. 1, 1987, our only...


November 01, 1997

Parents wait to see killer die

On Nov. 1, 1987, our only daughter was brutally murdered by convicted killer Steven Howard Oken. Steven Oken now sits on Maryland's Death Row, awaiting execution by lethal injection. Our daughter, Dawn Marie Romano Garvin, had been marched to her bedroom, raped, tortured and shot twice in the head

execution-style. This predator gained entrance posing as a police officer, a husband whose wife had locked him out of the house and a doctor saying that he needed to use a phone because his beeper had gone off.

On Nov. 14, 1987, Oken brutally murdered his second victim, his wife's sister, in his town home. He lured Patricia Hurt there under false pretenses, raped her and shot her twice.

When Oken went on the run, he decided to dump her body near Interstate 95 in the White Marsh area. An all-points bulletin was issued involving Interpol. While fleeing to Maine he stopped at a motel in Kittery, where he also murdered a young motel clerk, Lori Ward, on Nov. 16, 1987. Now the detectives knew they had a serial killer to deal with. When Oken was spotted, the motel was surrounded by the SWAT team.

Oken was considered very dangerous, heavily armed and carrying Teflon bullets. The Maine State Police did now know what to expect. The detectives here in Maryland had me on the phone while all this was happening. The police believed, or at least hoped, he would come out shooting. Instead, Oken came out falling to his knees, crying and reeking of alcohol.

Everyone here at home was relieved that he had been arrested. We thought that it was almost over. Little did we know that it was just the beginning of a 3 1/2 -year ordeal before he was sentenced to death.

Oken will never know what it is like to be imprisoned, terrified and humiliated at gunpoint and brutally murdered as our daughter was. He will simply receive an injection, to be gently put to sleep as someone who can serve no more useful purpose on this earth, a fate far too kind for him.

Even as he waits on Death Row, he is showered with all the counseling, legal advice and educational opportunities guaranteed by the Constitution. Oken has already been through six appeals at Maryland taxpayers' expense. He has lived 10 years more than he should have, considering there are three beautiful human beings lying cold in their graves because of his irresponsible and uncaring behavior.

Oken's day is coming. We and our family and friends will bear witness to his long-overdue execution. Let the squeamish people at the last two Maryland executions stay home this time. It is time for convicted murderers who are sentenced to death to be dealt one final irony, to be in the cold, friendless company of the survivors of the murder victims. For this is the very same hostile environment he subjected his victims to. Oken came from a well-to-do family, was college educated and instead of becoming a useful citizen, chose to be a murderer.

The main purpose of this letter is to bring public attention to the untimely and brutal death of our daughter and the great loss her family and friends suffered. It is also to state the great loss to the state of Maryland of a truly good citizen. Dawn Marie Romano Garvin was a loving wife, a college student and a full-time employee. She loved her family, the people she worked with and all people she came in contact with. She was a compassionate and productive member of her community and a great patriot. Dawn believed in education and that a person could reach any goal they set their mind on.

!Fred and Betty Romano

Bel Air

Architects praised for Waldorf School

The Waldorf School celebrated the opening of its new school on Oct. 20 to much praise by the mayor, Maryland's superintendent of schools, students, parents and community members, as well as Sun reporter Christian Ewell.

In spite of the poetry describing the new building, no mention was made of the school's architects: Peter Doo and Randy Sovich.

Architects are the key to the world we live in every day. They define the buildings we walk by, drive around, work in, ignore or admire.

ustin Mongroo


Classical favorites better than none

Regarding the plight of classical music over the airwaves cited by letter writers James Kitzmiller (Oct. 5) and Jack Johnston (Oct. 12), I certainly share the concerns raised about the diminution of options.

It's unfortunate, however, that both letter writers felt the need to attack WBJC-FM for its emphasis on the familiar and popular, what some conductors disparagingly refer to as the old war horses.

As Baltimore's sole surviving classical music station, WBJC's continued existence would seem to hinge on broadcasting its program to the widest possible audience still interested in this form of music rather than narrow-casting to the cognoscenti.

The war horses remain popular for the very obvious reason that they are indeed great and too often shoved aside in presumptuous efforts to educate the public.

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