Police, union angered by release of driver who killed officers

Man convicted of DWI served 3 years in prison

December 18, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police and union officials expressed outrage yesterday at the release from prison of a 29-year-old man convicted of driving while drunk and killing two city officers in 2000. He had served just more than half of his six-year sentence.

Shane Daniel Weiss was released about 8 a.m. yesterday from the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, prison officials said.

The officials added that Weiss, who had been incarcerated since October 2000, had served the maximum amount of his sentence allowed under state law. He will remain on probation for about three years, the officials said.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark said he was dismayed that Weiss could receive so little time in prison.

"We need to change it from the criminal justice system to the victims' justice system," Clark said. "We really need to start to hone into how this is happening. ... The time for this young man to think about what he did should have been much longer."

Weiss was sentenced in September 2001 after pleading guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of driving while intoxicated in the deaths of Sgt. John D. Platt, 35, and Kevin K. McCarthy on Oct. 14, 2000.

Both officers were assigned to the Northeastern District. Weiss' blood-alcohol content was well above the legal limit, and he was driving 63 mph in a 25-mph zone when he ran through a stop sign and slammed into the patrol car.

His six-year sentence by Circuit Judge David B. Mitchell was criticized at the time by police and union officials as being too lenient.

Union officials, police and relatives of the dead officers held a news conference yesterday morning at the city's Fraternal Order of Police memorial across from police headquarters to express their anger.

"It's totally outrageous that this man is getting out today," union President Dan Fickus said yesterday afternoon.

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