Man sentenced to 10 years for fatal beating

November 09, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Union Bridge man was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for fatally beating a Westminster man in a fistfight in February .

Wayne Anthony Wimsett, 40, of the first block of E. Main St. was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Jack Austin "Jake" White, 47, but pleaded guilty in August to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

After hearing testimony from Wimsett that he "never intended to kill his friend Jake," and disagreement between prosecutor Jerry Joyce and defense attorney Judson K. Larrimore over the cause of death, Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns said the manslaughter conviction would stand.

"I accept the fact that Mr. Wimsett did not intend to kill Mr. White," Burns said.

The judge said he had a manslaughter plea and conviction to consider, knowing that what led to the fight and "what killed Jake White had to be the consumption of alcohol. The victim's blood-alcohol content was 3.0. A little higher and the alcohol might have killed him."

According to Wimsett's statement to police, Joyce noted, the victim had been punched 10 to 15 times in the face after Wimsett knocked him to the ground Feb. 26.

Both men were injured and walked away from the fistfight, but the victim collapsed a brief time later behind his residence in the 200 block of E. Main St. He was taken to Carroll County General Hospital and transferred to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he died the next day.

A state medical examiner determined the victim's death was a homicide, caused by severe head trauma, police said.

Larrimore disagreed, noting that the medical examiner's report mentioned a 1-inch laceration on the victim's face and a cut on his eyebrow, but made no mention of head injuries.

Joyce argued for the maximum 10-year sentence, and Larrimore wanted Burns to consider allowing his client to leave immediately for Texas, where he would be accepted for up to three years in a program that combines alcohol and drug rehabilitation, hard physical labor and therapy.

Burns said the defendant could try to get into the program, but only after serving a time of incarceration.

"As a result of a fight, he killed a man," Burns said.

Wimsett told Burns that growing up in foster care, he learned to fight back if someone hit him.

"Not 20 minutes before, we were laughing and drinking, and then he started it, and I just struck back in an instant reaction," Wimsett said. "I didn't want to kill him. I needed him to help me. He was going to share the rent with me."

Terri White, the victim's widow, tearfully told Burns that the defendant was lying.

"Putting him in rehab would be a slap in my dead husband's face," she said.

In an unrelated matter yesterday, a Baltimore man was sentenced to five years in prison for robbing a Westminster branch of Carroll County Bank and Trust in May.

Burns suspended all but five years of the term after accepting the guilty plea of Anthony Michael Palmisano, 31, of Morrell Park.

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