Teen gets jail, therapy, public speaking for fatal crash Judge imposes sentence to help 'control' defendant

December 14, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County judge has sentenced a teen-ager he called "out of control for a long time" to an unusual mix of jail, therapy, public speaking and no-driving for causing the alcohol-related crash that killed a 15-year-old Arnold girl a year ago.

As dozens of Arnold and Annapolis students tearfully watched, Circuit Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr. said Friday that he would not impose the maximum three-year prison term on David N. Shupe of Arnold because he could control Shupe better and longer with less incarceration.

"Giving you three years is inappropriate because I lose control of you," Greene told Shupe, noting that the 18-year-old could be paroled in nine months with no treatment under those circumstances. "And somebody has got to control you."

Instead, Greene ordered six months in jail followed by at least 30 days of inpatient treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, and then five years of probation with conditions that include no driving and psychotherapy.

"You are going to speak publicly at 20 schools in Anne Arundel County and the state of Maryland while on probation. You will tell students the impact drinking, driving and drugging has had on you and your life," Greene said.

Shupe must appear before the judge every six months during probation, so that "I will know personally what you are doing," Greene said, reminding Shupe that any violation could land him in prison for three years.

Shupe of the 1500 block of Star Pine Drive pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in the death Dec. 26 of Kristen L. Gough, 15, of the 1100 block of Ramblewood Drive, a passenger in his car. Shupe's blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent as he drove down the wrong side of Mago Vista Road and his car slammed into a tree. He and two other passengers were hurt, but Kristen, a Broadneck Senior High School 10th-grader, was killed. She and another passenger were not wearing seat belts.

"I guess I wanted him to be in jail forever, but I guess he can't be," Kristen's friend Jennifer Gerety, 17, of Annapolis said outside the courtroom. But, she said, Shupe "is getting the help he needs."

Yesterday, Shupe read an apology as he and lawyer Joseph F. Devlin begged for Greene to give Shupe another chance. Devlin said Shupe's mother fled with her children from an abusive home, and they lived in a shelter for six months.

Kristen's family and friends wept as her father spoke, saying the crash should not be called an accident.

"I never dreamed I'd have to go to a funeral home and pick out a coffin, go to a cemetery and pick out a plot," said John Gough, "and knowing it's the last thing you'll ever buy for your daughter."

Annie Powell, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Central Maryland, thought the sentence showed sensitivity to the Gough family while punishing Shupe. "We also realize that people need treatment. We are grateful when the two are linked," Powell said.

Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Lamore initially sought more jail time -- "The court has given him enough chances," he said -- but was satisfied with the sentence.

Shupe has a lengthy criminal record, starting when he was 11.

Since then, he has been found responsible for two burglaries, one drug possession and an assault, and has been in two juvenile detention centers. He violated terms of his release by performing only eight of 60 hours of community service and flunked out of court-ordered substance abuse treatment programs four times.

In three days in July, he received three moving-violation tickets. On July 13 -- six months after the crash that killed Kristen -- he was found in illegal possession of alcohol.

After 10 suspensions in four years, he was forced out of public school two years ago.

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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