Judge, sheriff to meet today over 4-year sentence to jail

Similar exception made for a co-defendant

May 20, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The judge who sentenced a man Monday to four years at the county Detention Center said yesterday that he's well aware that sentences there normally run 18 months or less -- but a similar exception was made for a co-defendant in the high-profile case.

Visiting Judge Daniel W. Moylan said he would meet today to hear Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning's objections to the sentence he gave to Scott D. Broadfoot Sr.

Inmates should have terms of 18 months or less by law, Tregoning said.

Although nine jail inmates have longer terms, these were approved by his predecessor.

A jury convicted Broadfoot and co-defendant Frederick H. Hensen Jr. of automobile manslaughter and second-degree assault. Hensen was sentenced to a state prison.

Mount Airy Middle School teacher Geraldine Lane "Geri" Wu died and her daughter, Min-li Wu, 15, was injured in the crash in Finksburg about 9: 30 p.m. June 1 as a result of the men drag racing on Route 140 with a third man.

That man, Mark E. Eppig, 22, of Westminster was driving the car that crossed the median and struck Mrs. Wu's car.

Eppig pleaded guilty in October to the same charges and began serving a three-year jail term on work-release in December -- arranged before Tregoning took office.

"That's not an old case; that's this case," said Gary W. Wiessner, Broadfoot's attorney. "They set the precedent, and it was in this case, as to extended periods of time at the local jail. If they arranged it for one, it seems to me that they agreed to it as a possibility for all of the defendants."

Moylan said, "I am, of course, aware of the statute that says sentences greater than 18 months are not to be at the detention center -- but I was also aware that Mr. Eppig's sentence was three years, [and] four years was within the sentencing guidelines.

"I'm aware of the fiscal consequences as far as the cost to the county, but I'm also aware of the importance to the county of this case."

The cost of keeping an inmate at the jail is about $20,000 a year, Tregoning said .

Wiessner said his client not only will be paying part of his salary to the jail, but will be able to keep his wife and two children, ages 4 years and 18 months, off welfare.

Broadfoot has learning disabilities and other problems to which Moylan referred at sentencing.

He said work-release jail terms were offered to Broadfoot and Hensen in pretrial negotiations.

"If we would have pled guilty, they would have offered it," the attorney said. "They were agreeable to doing what the jail says is an illegal sentence for one defendant. Why aren't they agreeable to do it with the others?"

Assistant State's Attorney David P. Daggett said he arranged Eppig's sentence with the former sheriff, but he and State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes said their policy will be to not seek jail sentences longer than 18 months.

In handing down the sentences Monday, Moylan emphasized the driving records of Hensen, 22, of Westminster and Broadfoot, 25, of Parkville.

Broadfoot, who was sentenced to four years at the county jail with work-release recommended, is to report this evening. He has seven speeding convictions on his record.

Hensen, who received a six-year sentence to the state Division of Correction and was led off in handcuffs, has 14 traffic convictions, including 12 tickets for speeding -- three of them at 30 miles or more over the limit.

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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