Murderer collapses as judge sets term Man given life sentence has seizure

his family, victim's father clash

June 13, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A sentencing hearing for an admitted murderer turned ugly yesterday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court when the defendant had a seizure and relatives of the victim and defendant shouted insults while deputies and a physician tended the man.

Two sheriff's deputies grabbed David Scott Samuel, 20, as he started losing consciousness after he was sentenced to life in prison. Samuel's mother and aunt rushed from the benches toward him, screaming and crying. Dr. David Williamson, who was there to observe, ran from the back of the room to help Samuel.

"I am sure you are happy to see that," Samuel's mother, Annette Samuel, hollered across the courtroom aisle.

"Yup," yelled Douglas Gordon, father of David Michael Gordon, whose skull Samuel bashed in on Dec. 9, 1996, in the victim's Brooklyn Park home.

"You and I have something in common," Annette Samuel yelled as Douglas Gordon picked up his belongings. "We both raised drug addicts."

Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr. cleared the courtroom. Prosecutors steered the victim's family into a conference room. Samuel's mother and aunt hovered at the courtroom door.

Annapolis paramedics and county deputies took Samuel, semiconscious and receiving oxygen, across the street to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where his condition last night was stable.

Aware that the situation between the families was volatile, Greene began the hearing by warning that he would not tolerate outbursts and had brought in extra deputies.

One deputy was posted near Gordon, who had said he wanted a death penalty trial for Samuel.

Guilty plea

Samuel, also a Brooklyn Park resident, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and armed robbery Nov. 13, 1997, in exchange for prosecutors dropping a request for a sentence of life without parole.

He admitted bludgeoning Gordon to death over a $20 cocaine debt on the victim's 40th birthday in Gordon's home in the 100 block of Townsend Ave. Gordon's estranged wife and their children found the body.

In a statement to the court yesterday, Douglas Gordon implied that he would exact revenge for his son's murder and asked if he, too, could get a plea agreement.

Many problems

Samuel had many health problems included the one that caused his seizure, defense witnesses said. He had brain damage, probably from birth, several head injuries and multiple emotional, neurological and motor disorders, all exacerbated by drugs and alcohol abuse, they said.

Beaten as child

His parents beat him severely, starting when he was toddler, said social worker Sandy Straub, who described a 3-foot-long plastic rod that his father used to hit him.

He was chronically in trouble at school -- starting when he killed a gerbil in kindergarten and set fire to the room -- and with juvenile authorities.

Whether child protective workers failed to get him appropriate help or whether he refused to respond was an issue between the defense and prosecution.

Arch McFadden, Samuel's lawyer, sought a 30-year sentence.

Assistant State's Attorney Eileen Reilly said Samuel's violent behavior made him a menace and asked for a life sentence.

Pub Date: 6/13/98

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