24-year-old sentenced in Columbia teen's death

Glen Burnie man gets 65 years on two charges

May 21, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie man convicted of killing a Columbia teen-ager in a botched robbery was sentenced to 65 years in prison yesterday by an Anne Arundel County judge who told the man that at least he was alive - more than could be said about the youth he targeted.

Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. ordered Gerald Carvell Wallace, 24, to serve 50 years of a life term for murder, followed by 15 years for a handgun violation, in the death in October 2000 of Jerome Isaiah Johnson, 18. The sentence was 15 years longer than what Heller meted out last month to Wallace's cousin, Keith Lamont Mallett, 21, for the incident in the Freetown neighborhood.

The sentence satisfied the victim's relatives, who said the 2000 Hammond High School graduate was a charismatic mattress salesman who was considering switching careers after winning a scholarship for car-repair studies.

"This is fine with me. They're going to answer to God now," Frances K. Crim said as she flipped though a photo album of her grandson. The album included pictures of the young man wearing a white cap and gown at his kindergarten graduation, relaxing with his great-grandfather and dog, grinning by his spotless silver Plymouth, and wearing a tuxedo on prom night.

Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen E. Rogers had filed for a life sentence without parole.

"Wallace was the one with the gun; it was Wallace who planned this," she said after the sentencing.

Before he was sentenced, Wallace told Johnson's friends and family in court that he did not commit the crime and deserved a new trial.

"I had no reason to rob your son or kill him," Wallace said.

But Heller replied that Wallace could have given police and his attorney information about whomever he suspected of being the killer.

"It's almost like `Poor me.' I guess it sort of feels like you don't really get it. This is a young man who died," Heller said.

Defense attorney Louis J. Martucci said the sentence did not surprise him, though he had sought "some glimmer of hope for the future." But it is unlikely Wallace will be released until he is at least 60, he said.

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