Homeless man sentenced in killing of 41-year-old

Body was found beaten in Glen Burnie in August

July 17, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Relatives of a slain homeless man wept in court yesterday as they described their love for someone who they said was kind but who had problems and ultimately chose a lifestyle of homelessness despite their continued efforts to get him treatment for alcoholism and support him in a more traditional life.

"His death has laid heavy on our hearts," Tom Hawkins, stepfather of Martin David Dorsey, told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North.

His remarks came during the sentencing of Roger Lee Kronawetter, 41, who was ordered to serve four years in prison for killing Dorsey, 41, with whom he often shared a communal campsite in a wooded area in Glen Burnie.

Under a plea agreement, Kronawetter was sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter, with six years suspended, plus five years of supervised probation, much of it geared toward getting him psychiatric and other services.

Kronawetter beat to death Dorsey, whose body was found on a path in the woods Aug 28.

Dorsey's stepfather said Dorsey was born with a hearing loss and was taunted by other children. After Dorsey's mother died of cancer when he was 24, he turned to drugs and alcohol, moved from one family member's home to another, and then became homeless, Hawkins said.

Hawkins said Dorsey's generosity was evident when, after receiving a substantial amount of money, he held a cookout for his friends, and shortly before he was killed, posted bail for friends arrested on trespassing charges.

Kronawetter answered the judge's questions, but he did not address the court. No family or friends were in court to support him, and his lawyers expressed his remorse for the killing.

Defense attorneys David Putzi and Frank Gray said Kronawetter, who has bipolar disorder and suffered effects of head injuries, had trouble obtaining his medications due to a transient, bicoastal lifestyle. Instead, to feel better, he drank alcohol.

They said their goal was to get him appropriate treatment in prison and into a program there that links mentally ill prisoners with the services they need upon release.

North called the plea agreement "very lenient." She acknowledged that the conditions she set for probation, which include anger-management classes and Alcoholics Anonymous sessions twice a week, might be difficult for Kronawetter to meet, given his lifestyle.

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