Judge denies request from Balto. Co. killer for reduced sentence

August 31, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A judge denied yesterday a request from a man convicted in the 1982 killing of a Baltimore County teenager that his punishment be reduced, seven years after the inmate's death sentence in the crime was voided in favor of a life term.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts issued a written order denying the request from Michael Whittlesey, whose attorney argued during a hearing this month that a judge erred in 1984 in sentencing Whittlesey to consecutive prison terms of 10 years and 15 years for robbery and theft convictions stemming from the disappearance of 17-year-old Jamie Griffin.

In a nine-page ruling, the judge outlined the technical legal reasons why Whittlesey's robbery and theft convictions should not have been merged into one count at sentencing, as his defense attorney had argued. She declined to take 15 years off Whittlesey's prison term.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions of The Sun incorrectly identified the location of the Western Correctional Institution. The facility is in Cresaptown, near Cumberland.
The Sun regrets the error.

After Griffin's remains were found in 1990 in a shallow grave in Gunpowder Falls State Park, Whittlesey was convicted of murder and sentenced to die. But in 1997, after Maryland's highest court voided Whittlesey's death sentence, then-Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith Jr. - now the county executive - rejected a renewed plea for the death penalty and sentenced Whittlesey to life in prison.

He remains incarcerated at the Western Correctional Institution in Hagerstown.

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