Baltimore man, 22, gets 30 years in fatal assault Defendant denounces court at sentencing in Anne Arundel County

June 20, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

A 22-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to 30 years in prison yesterday for fatally stomping and beating a Brooklyn Park man in April 1996.

Rufus Robert Edwards Jr. of the 900 block of Jack Street was found guilty in October 1997 of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Thomas J. Partain, 38, a husband and father of two. Edwards will serve 20 years concurrently on the conspiracy conviction.

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Clayton Greene Jr., rejected Edwards' bid for a new trial.

According to defense attorney Jonathan Gladstone, Clyde W. Lewis Jr. of the first block of Carnene Drive, Pasadena, a witness at Edwards' trial in October, told a fellow detention center inmate that he had lied in testifying about Edwards' involvement the crime. Gladstone also said that prosecutors should have informed him of Lewis' arrest on a theft charge two weeks before he testified because that could have been used to demonstrate Lewis' bias in favor of the prosecution.

Greene said the information would have made no difference to his decision to convict Edwards. Edwards chose to be tried without a jury.

Edwards spoke defiantly in court yesterday.

"All I got to say is, I can't have remorse for a crime that I didn't commit," he said with his hands clasped before him. "I don't have any respect for your judicial system or for the way you all conduct your hearings."

In sentencing Edwards, Greene took into account Edwards' four assault convictions as a juvenile, and his involvement in 10 assaults on inmates, five assaults on corrections officers and three destruction of property cases at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center since November 1997.

Edwards has "a history of someone that is just completely out of control," Greene said. "Your comments today, the way you carry yourself, [show] that no one can tell you anything, because you have no respect for anyone."

Edwards was arrested shortly after the beating of Partain, of the 200 block of Southerly Road, on April 27, 1996. Partain was found unconscious in the 5100 block of Kramme Ave. near Arundel Village Park in Brooklyn Park. He died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore on May 3.

Though witnesses told police they saw three men kicking Partain in the head, no other arrests were made.

Assistant State's Attorney Warren W. Davis III presented no motive for the killing at the trial nor at sentencing.

He said he was satisfied with the sentence.

Partain's brother, Gregory Grosholz, 51, of Pasadena, said he wished the sentence could have been harsher because of the "savagery" of the crime. His brother may have had a drug problem and a few scrapes with the law, but he was a husband and father, Grosholz said after the hearing.

"When I see him, I have to go to a cemetery, a plot of grass," he said. "[Edwards'] parents will be able to see him on weekends and holidays."

Partain's wife, Sonya, and their children, a boy, 9, and a girl, 6, were present yesterday.

Edwards' mother, Theresa Edwards of Severn, also attended.

"They know he didn't do it; it's not over yet," she said.

Gladstone said he would likely appeal the sentence.

Pub Date: 6/20/98

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