Man, 39, gets life term in slaying He was convicted in 1995 fatal shooting of a Baltimore teen

November 11, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County judge sentenced a convicted killer yesterday to life plus 18 years -- two years short of the maximum prison term.

"I've tried to look to find something redeeming in this case, but I can't find it," Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner said before sentencing Thomas "Eddie" Blake, 39, of the 1100 block of E. Patapsco Ave. in Baltimore. "He really shouldn't be walking around the streets."

Blake, who smiled as he was sentenced and shackled, was convicted in September of first-degree murder and four related charges in the Sept. 1, 1995, slaying of Miquel Tavon "Fats" Cauthorne, 16, of the 3600 block of W. Bay Ave. in Baltimore.

In a statement to the judge, Blake said he was innocent and vowed to appeal.

His lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Robert H. Waldman, sought to limit incarceration to 28 years.

Even with good behavior, Blake could expect to serve at least 20 years, he said.

"That would place him at approximately the age of 60," Waldman said. "At that, the man has almost no life left."

Blake's health probably would be poor, and he would have no pension and no Social Security, Waldman argued.

"That would be worse punishment than keeping him in," the attorney said.

Prosecutor Frederick Paone dwelled on what he called "a very, very brutal act" as he tried for at least a life sentence.

Relatives of the teen-age victim expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

"It's some relief," said Latrice Bethea, 23, of Baltimore. "But a lot still bothers me. I can't see my brother."

Blake "still has a family that can go see him," she said. "My mother has to go to a gravesite."

Michael Cauthorne, the youth's father, described the sentence as "fair" and said he was annoyed that the first of three people to stand trial in his son's death professed innocence.

Later this month, Blake's nephew, Jamie Lee Scott, 21, of the 700 block of Bestgate Road in Annapolis, is scheduled for trial.

His brother, Kenneth Blake, 32, of the 4100 block of Hague Ave. in Baltimore, is scheduled for a trial in January.

Thomas Blake's trial was akin to a soap opera.

No eyewitness testimony or physical evidence tied Blake to the killing that occurred along Shot Town Road in Arnold, a point that Waldman emphasized to the jury.

Nobody really knows what happened on the side of Shot Town Road, he said.

Testimony indicated that Blake and Cauthorne were on the way to a cookout at the home of Blake's aunt a day after they had reportedly argued.

The prosecution's star witness was Jessica Martin, 19, the former girlfriend of Blake's nephew.

She said she was so fearful of retribution that when she finally came forward more than seven months after the cookout, her whereabouts were protected by prosecutors. Martin said she spoke to police only after her mother resumed her tumultuous relationship with Blake.

Martin testified that the Blake brothers and her former boyfriend were driving Cauthorne to the cookout. But when the car arrived, Cauthorne was not in it. On the way home, they talked about Cauthorne crawling on the ground pleading for his life, she said.

Cauthorne's body was found the next day in a ditch along Shot Town Road. He had been shot six times. Neighbors testified that they heard gunshots about 7 o'clock the night of the cookout.

Pub Date: 11/11/97

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