Woman, 66, seeks reduced sentence for hiring man to kill daughter-in-law

March 08, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A teary Emilia D. Raras pleaded yesterday for a reduction in the life-without-parole sentence she received for hiring a hit man in November 1998 to kill her Elkridge daughter-in-law - a woman she claimed to "love like a daughter."

Raras and her lawyers asked a Howard County Circuit Court panel of three judges to suspend all but 10 years of the sentence.

The review panel likely will file its decision within 30 days. If the judges reduce her sentence and she is paroled after serving the mandatory minimum of five years, Raras could be free before her 70th birthday. She has served two years and seven months.

In June, the Court of Special Appeals rejected the argument that Raras' statement to police should have been suppressed and that Howard Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney should have better explained to her jury what constitutes first-degree murder.

Raras, 66, was convicted in February 2000 of first-degree murder for hiring a hit man to kill Sara J. Williamson Raras in her Elkridge home. Sweeney sentenced the Baltimore County woman to life without the possibility of parole, and sentenced the convicted killer, Ardale D. Tickles, 22, to life with the possibility of parole.

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