Convict to serve remainder of prison term for violation

He was told not to drink after fatal crash in '96

July 15, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Declaring that an alcohol treatment plan was "unacceptable," an Anne Arundel County judge yesterday imprisoned an Arnold man convicted of causing a fatal, alcohol-related crash and then violating probation by drinking.

David N. Shupe, a 20-year-old who has been in trouble with the law since he was 11, showed no emotion as Circuit Judge Clayton Greene Jr. ordered him to finish a 2 1/2 -year prison term.

The sentence disappointed his lawyer, Joseph F. Devlin, who was hoping to win time to find a long-term residential treatment program for his client.

"Regardless, he is going to get out," Devlin told the judge. He said one goal was to "make sure he doesn't harm himself or anyone else."

Greene recommended that the prison system consider Shupe for treatment at Patuxent Institution.

But Devlin said he will keep looking to "see where there are additional options for David for treatment."

The sentence satisfied the family of Kristen L. Gough, a 15-year-old killed in the Dec. 26, 1996 crash.

"I'm glad he made good on his word," Marie Gough, the victim's mother said, referring to Greene's decision in May to have Shupe finish his prison term unless a mental health evaluation changed his mind.

The Gough family has attended all of Shupe's hearings. They hope, they say, to hear him apologize.

"He has never shown any remorse," Marie Gough said.

But Devlin said the young man is remorseful. "People have different ways of dealing with it," he said.

"It would be a different story if he was trying to change. But being caught with alcohol and lying to the judge - that is not trying to change," said Kristen's 25-year-old sister, Chanon. "I truly wish he'd seen the light. But I don't think he will. Basically, this accident took two lives."

Shupe pleaded guilty in 1997 to homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Greene sentenced him to the maximum, three years in prison, suspending all but six months of it and adding five years probation because, he said, it gave him control over Shupe for a longer period of time.

In May, after finding that Shupe violated probation and demanding to know why Shupe didn't "get it," Greene sent Shupe to the county jail and ordered a mental health evaluation.

The evaluation pointed to substance abuse troubles, not mental health problems. Evaluator Donna Truax recommended a 30-day in-patient program followed by a halfway house.

"I don't think that is the appropriate recommendation in this case," Greene said.

Though Shupe had told judges this year that he remained sober, he told Truax he's been drinking since May 1998, said assistant state's attorney Eileen Reilly.

One of the places where Shupe was alleged to have been in possession of beer was a park next to the Gough home, which the family considered a "slap in the face."

Shupe's past includes two burglaries, one drug possession and an assault. He has been in two juvenile detention centers, violated terms of his juvenile release and failed court-ordered substance-abuse treatment programs four times, according to court records. As part of his most recent probation, he was ordered to speak at schools about the impact of drugs and alcohol on his life. He has spoken twice.

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