Defendant asking judge to shorten 6-year prison term in fatal crash

His sentence is longest among 3 men convicted

June 09, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A 22-year-old Westminster man sentenced to six years in state prison will seek a review of that sentence, the longest of those meted out to three men convicted of automobile manslaughter for racing together down Route 140 a year ago and killing a Mount Airy Middle School teacher.

Lawyers for Frederick N. Hensen Jr. filed motions yesterday for reconsideration by the sentencing judge, Daniel W. Moylan, and for a review of the sentence by a three-judge panel, which would not include Moylan and could increase or reduce his sentence, said defense attorney J. Barry Hughes. The conviction also has been appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.

The case was unusual because Hensen and co-defendant Scott D. Broadfoot Sr., 25, of Parkville, were convicted of the charges for acting with Mark E. Eppig, 22, of Westminster, whose car caused the fatal crash.

Eppig pleaded guilty in October to manslaughter by automobile and second-degree assault in the death of Geraldine Lane "Geri" Wu and injuries to her 15-year-old daughter, Min-li Wu, about 9: 30 p.m. June 1, 1998, as they were leaving Finksburg to drive home to Westminster. Eppig testified against Hensen and Broadfoot, who were convicted in April after a previous jury deadlocked on the top counts.

There have been cases in Maryland in which defendants were convicted when their vehicles didn't cause the fatal crash, said Assistant State's Attorney David P. Daggett, but those were more typical movie-style drag races, and none included an assault charge.

Eppig testified that the 5.4-mile race down Route 140 began with a glance between him and Broadfoot at a Westminster shopping center. They were soon joined by Hensen. The race ended when Eppig lost control of his 1991 Nissan and slid across the grassy median into Wu's 1997 Mitsubishi.

None of the three men had a criminal record other than traffic offenses, which Moylan emphasized in sentencing them, noting the testimony of witnesses who were terrified as the three cars sped past.

Hensen had 14 traffic offenses on his record, including three for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 mph.

Broadfoot had seven speeding convictions, said Daggett.

Eppig was in court last week asking Moylan for a reduction of his sentence, a three-year term with work-release at the Carroll County Detention Center. Moylan, a retired Washington County circuit judge, has been hearing cases in Carroll recently.

Moylan, who did not sentence Eppig, said he would have to serve at least 18 months before any reduction.

Moylan gave Broadfoot a four-year sentence, which, like Eppig's, is to be served at the Carroll County Detention Center with work-release.

The disparity is "principally the issue" in seeking a modification of Hensen's six-year state prison sentence, said Hughes.

Pub Date: 6/09/99

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