Arundel judges refuse to trim escapee's sentence

January 29, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Convicted murderer Gregory Lawrence lost his bid yesterday for trimming his 6-year sentence for a movie-like escape from prison in Jessup.

Lawrence, serving a life term for a Baltimore murder, asked a three-judge Anne Arundel County Circuit Court panel to shorten the sentence because he did not want it to stand in the way of the parole or exoneration he hopes for in the 1978 murder conviction.

Lawrence and his bunkmate, Byron Smoot, scaled a razor-wire fence and were picked up nearby by Smoot's paramour, former prison psychologist Elizabeth L. Feil. All three pleaded guilty for their roles in the escape.

Lawrence's justification for the escape met with no more success yesterday than it did last month when Judge Clayton Greene Jr. imposed the six-year term.

The three-judge panel found that there was no reason to change the sentence, which was squarely in the middle of sentencing guidelines that recommended four to eight years.

Lawrence, 39, tried to justify his escape last May, saying he was wrongly imprisoned for murder, wanted only to earn money to hire a lawyer to challenge that conviction, and felt his life term was turned into a sentence of life without parole when Gov. Parris N. Glendening said he would not parole lifers.

Besides, he said, nobody was guarding the fence he and Smoot climbed.

Several guards were fired, and the warden and other guards transferred after the escape.

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