Man, 37, sentenced to probation for role in employee's...

ARUNDEL DIGEST

November 30, 2001

Man, 37, sentenced to probation for role in employee's death

An Odenton man was placed on five years' probation yesterday for his role in the death of a former employee, who died after hitting her head on the pavement at his house as the two argued.

"I feel so awful," Sang U. Kwak, 37, who operates a dry-cleaning business, told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Philip T. Caroom. "I feel so sorry that this thing happened. None of this was intended."

Caroom sentenced Kwak to 18 months in jail, but suspended that sentence and placed the man on probation and ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service. Kwak gave prosecutors $3,000 he owed the victim, Dae Lee, 40, of Annapolis, to forward to her children. The money was the apparent subject of the dispute between the two.

Lee had blocked Kwak from leaving a parking lot April 22, and, chasing after him in her car, rammed his vehicle. Outside his home, they fought, and Lee fell and hit her head, suffering fatal injuries, police said. Kwak maintained that he did not throw the woman to the pavement.

Kwak was charged with manslaughter. In October, he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. He entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the existence of sufficient evidence to convict.

Kwak's lawyer, Steven M. Sindler, said that after Kwak completes part of his probation period he plans to ask Caroom to change the sentence to probation before judgment, which would allow Kwak to ask the court to erase the conviction.

Shanahan upholds firing of county police officer

The Anne Arundel County police chief has upheld a trial board's recommendation that Officer Charles R. Atwell II be fired for not seeking medical attention for a 20-year-old drunken-driving suspect who died Dec. 15 in police custody, the officer's lawyer and police union officials confirmed yesterday.

Atwell's lawyer, Thomas W. Kinnane, said the officer, a 14-year veteran of the force, would appeal Chief P. Thomas Shanahan's decision in county Circuit Court.

An internal affairs trial board found Atwell guilty this month of violating department policy when he failed to call an ambulance for Philip A. Montgomery of Calvert County, who died in a Southern District holding cell.

A sergeant faces charges of violating department policy in the case.

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