Man sentenced to life in salon owner's killing

September 17, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

William Antione Bates was 13 when he first entered the criminal justice system. Yesterday, Bates -- now 22 -- was ordered to spend the rest of his life there.

Bates was sentenced in Baltimore Circuit Court to life plus 15 years for killing hair salon owner Clayton "Hank" Culbreth in December. His accomplice, Nicholas S. Beharry, 40, received a life sentence yesterday with all but 30 years suspended. The judge was Gary I. Strausberg.

For Bates, yesterday's sentence culminated a lifestyle that escalated from theft to armed robbery to murder, Assistant State's Attorney Sharon R. Holback said. As a juvenile, he was committed five times in four years to detention facilities.

"He has failed to rehabilitate himself and in fact has climbed up the ladder with his criminal behavior," Holback said. "He was a colossal failure."

Last year, two months after he was released from prison for violating his probation, Bates was charged with eluding police and reckless driving, Holback said. The parole commission decided not to recall him to prison.

Three months later, Holback said, Bates fatally shot Culbreth, 33, as the North Baltimore man walked out of his home with a girlfriend.

Holback said Beharry had done janitorial work for the victim. On Dec. 27, Beharry and Bates went to Culbreth's house to rob him. After Culbreth opened the door, Bates shot him to death, she said.

Beharry, a native of Trinidad, had no known criminal record, Holback said. The two were convicted in July.

Bates' "life of crime started when he was 13 years old," Holback said. "The state has tried really hard to help him."

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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