Judge fulfills 1997 threat, sentences man to 2 1/2 years for violating probation order

In '96, Arnold defendant had pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide

May 09, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge made good yesterday on a 1997 threat to imprison an Arnold man if he violated his probation for causing the alcohol-related crash that killed a 15-year-old girl.

Judge Clayton Greene Jr. ordered David N. Shupe, 20, who has been in trouble with the law since he was 11, to spend 2 1/2 years in prison. Shupe was charged twice in the past year with underage possession of alcohol. His probation agent also alleged he violated his probation in other ways, including failure to notify her when he moved.

"I don't think Mr. Shupe really gets it," Greene said angrily, ending a five-year probation that followed six months in jail and included therapy, public speaking and other conditions.

"You've killed someone," he said.

Shupe had pleaded guilty in 1997 to homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in the Dec. 26, 1996, death of Kristen L. Gough, a 10th-grader at Broadneck High School. Gough was a passenger in his car when it slammed into a tree after traveling on the wrong side of Mago Vista Road.

When Greene sentenced Shupe in 1997, he suspended 2 1/2 years of a three-year sentence, saying the five-year probation with the threat of having to serve the rest of the sentence gave him control over Shupe for a longer period of time.

Yesterday, he ordered a mental health evaluation for Shupe as well.

"He's had his opportunities to straighten himself out, and he has failed miserably," said Assistant State's Attorney Eileen Reilly.

One of the places where Shupe was alleged to have been in possession of alcohol was a park by the home of the dead girl's family, who tearfully watched the hearing.

"It was a slap in the face," Chanon Gough, Kristen's sister, said outside the courtroom.

Marie Gough, the victim's mother, and Chanon Gough have been regulars at Prom Promises, high school programs held every spring to discourage drunken driving, and have spoken at private driver-education courses.

The Gough family said they had feared Shupe would fail at probation.

"Maybe he'll get the point," said John Gough, the victim's father. "He's got a long history. He's making excuses for his lifestyle. He's been seen around partying. It was just a matter of time before he was caught."

Shupe maintained that although he was with people who were drinking, he has remained sober throughout probation and has abided by the court order that he not drive. He said he was out of touch with his probation agent because he had been evicted.

"I ask for your mercy not to go to [prison]," he begged Greene.

Shupe's attorney, Gill Cochran, said he plans to appeal Greene's ruling because he believes Shupe is being punished twice. He has been under house arrest since February awaiting yesterday's hearing and has not been tried on the two alcohol-violation charges. Cochran said trials is those cases are scheduled next month and in July.

"He is being punished for the alcohol violations he hasn't been found guilty of," Cochran said.

Shupe has a lengthy record, court records show. He has been found responsible for two burglaries, one drug possession and an assault, and has been in two juvenile detention centers. He violated terms of his juvenile release and failed court-ordered substance abuse treatment programs four times.

Among other troubles, he received several traffic tickets, was found in possession of alcohol and, after 10 suspensions in four years, was forced out of public school.

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