Annapolis teen given 8-year sentence for manslaughter Concurrent term imposed for gun violation criticized

November 15, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Annapolis teen-ager who shot and killed a man while he was under a court order to stay away from guns was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for manslaughter, but got no extra time for an accompanying conviction for a handgun violation.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth's sentence for 19-year-old Dante Ricardo Mitchell drew expressions of outrage from both sides.

The victim's family and prosecutors complained that the sentence was too light and that the seriousness of the weapons conviction -- which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years -- was downplayed. And the defendant's mother left the courtroom sobbing because of the length of the sentence her son received.

"I feel there was no justice," said Linda Scrivner, mother of the victim, Edward Jerome Scrivner, 24, of the 600 block of Chapelview Drive in Odenton.

"This kid was on the corner, drunk, scared, and with a handgun he wasn't supposed to have," Assistant State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said after the sentencing. "I consider the handgun the most important part of the case."

She told Rushworth that Mitchell, who had been expelled from Meade Senior High School and had a record of juvenile violence, deserved a 30-year sentence -- a total of the maximum terms for both convictions -- with 10 years suspended.

But defense attorney John H. Robinson III argued that was double what state sentencing guidelines recommended and akin to a sentence for murder. State guidelines call for seven to 13 years in prison on the manslaughter conviction.

"It was a unique set of facts," Robinson said, praising the judge's decision to allow the handgun sentence to run concurrent with the manslaughter sentence. "You are not dealing with an adult convicted of murder. You are dealing with a 17-year-old convicted of manslaughter."

Rushworth said giving Mitchell a long prison term for the weapons violation "would distort the sentence."

In July, a jury convicted Mitchell, of the 1900 block of Copeland St., of manslaughter in the Jan. 22, 1997, death of Scrivner. The defense had argued successfully that Scrivner was a robber who physically threatened Mitchell and that Mitchell fired in self-defense,

Mitchell shot Scrivner five times in the head and left him near a day care center in Odenton's low-income Meade Village complex about 5: 50 p.m., got a ride home and called police to confess.

While jurors heard testimony describing Scrivner as a bully, they were not privy to Mitchell's background. He had been arrested 14 times as a juvenile and found delinquent in five of those arrests. He was sent twice to a juvenile facility, expelled from school and ordered to stay away from guns after being convicted of a weapons charge.

The weapon used to kill Scrivner was not found.

Pub Date: 11/14/98

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