Man sentenced to time served in sodomy case

He kept disabled woman in his home for 3 days

Carroll County

September 21, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A 57-year-old Carroll County man known to the criminal justice system for decades received time served for his conviction on a sodomy charge involving a mentally disabled 18-year-old woman whom he kept at his home near Mount Airy for three days in November 2000.

Carroll County Circuit Judge Michael M. Galloway found Guy Gordon Marsh Jr. guilty in October on the single count of sodomy as part of a plea agreement. The agreement also called for Marsh to register as a sex offender.

Yesterday, at the conclusion of a two-day sentencing hearing that began in March, the judge credited Marsh with the 212 days he spent in jail until June 2001, suspending the balance of an eight-year prison term. Galloway also ordered Marsh to serve five years of probation, required that he be evaluated and undergo any recommended treatment, stay away from the victim, abstain from alcohol, and complete 100 hours of community service.

"I'm just kinda looking forward," Marsh told the judge, in asking for probation. "I'll do anything you ask."

Marsh said he has trouble forming relationships with women because of his background, has lost his home and is living temporarily with a male friend in the 600 block of Warfieldsburg Road near Westminster. He said he works as a self-employed trucker, sometimes hauling logs, and sees his son every other week.

Galloway said he is satisfied that Marsh is not a sexual predator but was "desperate for a relationship and used poor judgment. ... She was not an appropriate sexual partner."

Galloway said he would have preferred hearing from the victim, who was not in court yesterday.

Assistant State's Attorney Tracy A. Gilmore said the victim was too distraught to appear.

According to charging documents, the victim left her home in the 15000 block of Liberty Road after arguing with her mother about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 9, 2000, and was considered a critically missing person because she is mentally disabled and legally blind. She and Marsh called her mother several times that weekend from convenience store telephones in Carroll, documents state.

Police located the victim and Marsh on Nov. 12, and she was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, where she was examined, according to charging documents. She later told police that Marsh forced sexual acts upon her that weekend, saying he would go to jail if she told.

Marsh told the police he found her staggering along Liberty Road and that she said her mother had beaten her, according to charging documents. He initially denied any sexual contact, saying he had bought her clothes, earrings, a watch and eyeglasses.

Gilmore asked for a 10-year sentence, emphasizing Marsh's record and the victim's vulnerability.

But Judson K. Larrimore, assistant public defender, noted that the victim had numerous opportunities to leave the house between Nov. 9 and Nov. 12. He said the victim had told Marsh her mother was abusing her, a story she apparently also had told in school.

Dr. Ellen McDaniel of Howard County, a defense witness, testified yesterday that Marsh came from an abusive home and sustained a serious head injury while serving in the merchant marine during the Vietnam War era. He is impulsive and makes poor judgments, she said, but is not anti-social or a sexual predator.

Marsh gained national attention when he was released in 1987 from the Maryland Penitentiary after serving 14 years on a murder conviction that was overturned. In that case, two informants admitted they lied in placing him at the scene of the June 1971 killing of Charles R. Erdman, who was shot when he tried to stop a robbery at a Glen Burnie 7-Eleven.

In 1994, Marsh was sent back to prison by a Carroll County judge on a conviction for beating his former wife, which violated the terms of a probation imposed after his guilty plea in 1992 to second-degree rape. He pleaded guilty in that case to having sex with a 13-year-old baby sitter.

The case was delayed, in part, because Marsh was charged originally in December 2000 in Frederick County. Police and prosecutors later determined that the crime occurred on the Carroll County side of the 5600 block of Buffalo Road, which forms part of the border between the two counties.

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