Sheriff wants to talk to judge who ordered four-year jail sentence

Detention center terms usually 18 months or less

May 19, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County sheriff wants to talk to the judge who sentenced a man Monday to four years at the county detention center on a conviction for automobile manslaughter, because the jail usually is limited to those with sentences of 18 months or less.

Visiting Circuit Judge Daniel W. Moylan sentenced Scott D. Broadfoot Sr., 25, of Parkville to four years in jail for his part in the death of Geraldine Lane "Geri" Wu, a Mount Airy Middle School teacher, and injuries to her daughter Min-li Wu, 15, while he was drag racing with two men down Route 140 in June.

It costs taxpayers about $20,000 a year to house and feed each jail inmate, plus medical expenses, the sheriff said, and the jail that was built for 146 people houses 188. The law sets an 18-month maximum term.

Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning said he has nine jail inmates with sentences longer than 18 months, "but this is the first one under my administration." He defeated John Brown in last fall's election.

Mark E. Eppig, 22, whose vehicle was the one that struck Wu's car, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter and assault charges, and received a three-year jail sentence with work release.

When Moylan sentenced Broadfoot on Monday, Assistant State's Attorney David P. Daggett raised the objection that the four-year term was too long for the jail, but the judge noted that it was similar to Eppig's term. The judge also agreed to recommend work release for Broadfoot, who is married with two young children to support and was given until tomorrow evening to surrender.

Moylan could not be reached for comment yesterday, and Tregoning said he hoped to talk to him today. Broadfoot's attorney, Gary W. Wiessner, also had said he might try to arrange work-release incarceration closer to Baltimore County.

The third man convicted in the 5.4-mile race was Frederick H. Hensen Jr., 22, of Westminster, whom Moylan also sentenced Monday. Hensen is to be transferred to the state Division of Correction on Friday to begin a six-year term, the sheriff said.

Moylan based his sentences upon Hensen's 14 traffic convictions and Broadfoot's seven. He did not sentence Eppig, who had no record before the crash.

When Eppig's attorney was negotiating a guilty plea and testimony for the prosecution, Daggett said he did agree to keep the incarceration local, rather than sending the defendant to the state prison system. "So I did talk to [former Sheriff John Brown], and he agreed."

Since then, the prosecutor said yesterday, "We have received memos that we are no longer to do that -- and it will not be done again."

Carroll State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes said of the sheriff's objection, "I will totally support him in his position, which is the existing law: that you are not to be sentenced to the detention center in excess of 18 months." Barnes said he has issued two internal memorandums that "this office is not to agree to this type of sentence."

Pub Date: 5/19/99

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