Convicted killer attempts to get early release from prison

November 20, 2003|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

Twenty-one years after he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his aunt, a Pasadena man appeared in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court yesterday to ask that his sentence be modified.

Allen Finke, 50, was convicted in 1982 of stabbing to death Leonette Shilling in her home in 1979. Finke said he murdered his aunt after breaking into her home to steal money. Startled that she was home baby-sitting her 3-year-old nephew, Finke, high on marijuana, stabbed Shilling 11 times.

In April, reversing an earlier opinion, Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth granted Finke a sentence modification hearing. Silkworth stated that Finke's attorneys failed to file a request for modification after his original sentencing, denying him his rights as a defendant.

Appearing before Judge Joseph P. Manck, Finke pleaded for an early release, apologizing for his crime. Several members of Finke's family, who have disagreed for two decades about whether to forgive him, made tearful victim-impact statements.

Prosecutors argued that the nature of Finke's crime, coupled with his lack of remorse, make him a danger to society.

Defense attorney Fred Warren Bennett said he believes the hearing marks Finke's final chance to request an early release. In his closing remarks to the court, Bennett told the judge he believes it is Manck's judicial responsibility to decide Finke's sentence, asking him not to turn the case over to the parole board.

Attorneys for both sides expect Manck to reach a decision within two weeks.

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