Man admits harboring illegal parties

Alford plea made in case sparked by death of son, 11, who was drunk

February 06, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Nine months after his 11-year-old son died drunk in a car driven by a teen-ager who had just left his house, a father admitted in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court yesterday that he turned his home into a haven for drug and alcohol parties for youths.

Edward E. Cordova Sr., 47, entered an Alford plea, denying the charges but agreeing that prosecutors have the evidence to convict him on two counts of maintaining a drug house and one of recklessly endangering another person. In exchange, prosecutors dropped 26 related counts.

Each count is punishable by up to five years in prison. Assistant State's Attorney M. Virginia Miles said she will ask Judge Ronald A. Silkworth at the March 24 sentencing for longer jail time than the six to 18 months called for under state guidelines. Cordova was on probation for drunken driving at the time of the offenses.

Cordova said little, his right hand shaking as he stood while Miles described 10 months of drug parties at houses in Odenton, Gambrills and Severn that she said led to the hospitalization of a teen-ager for near-fatal alcohol poisoning in one instance and the death of Edward Eric Cordova, 11, in the car wreck.

Through his lawyer, Steven M. Sindler, Cordova denied contributing to the death of his son.

"He would deny that he ever provided any alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs to his child Eddie," Sindler said, adding that Cordova allowed the illegal parties for his 14-year-old daughter and her friends.

In dispute was whether Cordova's "judgment slipped a lot" and he permitted the activities, as Sindler argued, or whether he paid for, encouraged and participated in them, as Miles charged.

Sindler said Cordova has an alcohol problem and that he takes painkillers and mood-altering drugs prescribed by a Veterans Affairs doctor for knee ailments and emotional problems.

Miles said Cordova handed the drugs out to his children and their friends, ages 19 and younger, supplied grain alcohol, beer and wine, and had them buy for him as much as a pound of marijuana at a time.

The parties went on at three houses from October 1997 to July 1998, drawing repeated complaints from neighbors.

Miles said Cordova was partly to blame for his son's death on April 26.

She said Cordova asked Gregory Bostic, 19, of Gambrills to take his son to a nearby 7-Eleven for food after a party at his house. Police said Bostic was driving at an estimated 65 mph and lost control of the car at a hilly bend on Chesterfield Road in Crownsville known as "End of the World." The car hit a tree and flipped, ejecting the 11-year-old, who was not wearing a seat belt.

Miles said yesterday that the child's blood alcohol level was .10 -- legally drunk -- and that there were indications of marijuana and tranquilizer in his system.

The driver's blood alcohol level was .05, the state's attorney's office said. Bostic's trial on charges of automobile manslaughter and four related counts is scheduled for March 18.

Pub Date: 2/06/99

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