Two enter guilty pleas in killing of woman

Victim was pinned when Jeep pushed down slope

August 20, 2002|By Jonathan D. Rockoff | Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

Two young Parkville men unexpectedly pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday in the death of a Cockeysville woman who suffocated after an unoccupied Jeep pushed down a hill crashed through a brick wall and into her bedroom.

As a prosecutor described for the judge the frantic but ultimately failed struggle to extricate Melanie J. Wentz, 28, from the Jeep Wrangler that had pinned her on her bed, her sobbing parents hurriedly left the courtroom and did not return.

In court for what was expected to be a routine pretrial hearing, David J. Myers, 20, of the 9000 block of Waltham Woods Road and Anton F. Marx Jr., 19, of the 1800 block of Redwood Ave. pleaded guilty to misdemeanor manslaughter in Wentz's death Feb. 12.

Myers and Marx, who Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Roscher said had been on a spree of sport utility vehicle break-ins, will be sentenced Oct. 22. The maximum they could receive is 10 years in prison, but state sentencing guidelines call for three months to four years.

A 16-year-old youth previously admitted guilt and is being held at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, Roscher said later.

In the courtroom of Judge John G. Turnbull II, Marx and Myers did not make statements except to affirm with "Yes, sir" and "Yes, your honor" that they understood the implications of their pleas.

Wentz's parents did not want to comment, Roscher said.

Roger Birkel, executive director of the Baltimore Zoo where Wentz worked as a public relations manager, declined to comment. A neighbor of Wentz's also declined to comment. "The family has already been through enough," the neighbor said.

Wentz was sleeping in her apartment in the 300 block of Limestone Valley Drive when the Jeep Wrangler crashed through her bedroom wall.

Myers will continue being held in the county Detention Center pending sentencing. Marx remains free on bail.

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