The man identified as the getaway driver in the retaliatory killing of Detective Thomas G. Newman was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without the possibility of parole -- meaning that all three of the Baltimore officer's convicted killers will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Inside a courtroom filled with Newman's family and fellow officers, Anthony A. Brown, 36, did not make a statement before Circuit Judge Albert J. Matricciani Jr., handed down the sentence: two life terms -- one with no possibility of parole -- for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and 20 years for a weapons violation.
Brown's defense lawyer, Brian J. Murphy, had asked the judge to sentence Brown more leniently than the two triggermen who were handed life sentences and suggested leaving open the possibility of parole. Brown was accused of driving Jovan House and Raymond Saunders, the shooters, away from Joe's Tavern, the Southwest Baltimore bar where Newman was killed Nov. 23, 2002.
"My brother's blood stains his hands, also," Newman's younger sister, Rena Martin, said after the sentencing hearing.
Col. Antonio Williams, chief of the detectives division and one of Newman's former supervisors, said Brown's sentence meant "justice has been served."
Newman, 37, was a 12-year veteran of the force and the father of a young son and daughter. Williams described him as "a hard-working officer who cared about what he was doing and got results."
Prosecutors believe that Newman was ambushed and killed in revenge for his testimony against Saunders' half-brother, Andre Travers. Newman was shot in April 2001 and testified against Travers, who was then convicted of attempted second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In Brown's five-day trial in December, prosecutors described how he had spotted the off-duty detective drinking at the tavern and notified House and Saunders. After Newman was shot nine times in the parking lot, prosecutors said, Brown whisked the pair away.
Saunders, to avoid the death penalty that prosecutors sought, pleaded guilty in October to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and received two life sentences, one without the possibility of parole.
In a death-penalty case months earlier, a Baltimore jury convicted House but then spared him with a sentence of life without parole.
Brown's younger sister spoke at yesterday's sentencing hearing, saying that he had been a loving brother and father, and was "all we got right now."
Carletta Earl said afterward that her brother was innocent and that the sentence was unfair. "He's not a cruel man," she said. "He's not a bad person. Whatever was said in court is not going to change that."
Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Fraling called Brown a "social reprobate with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever." He said Brown violated every parole he had ever been placed on during his "adult lifetime of lawlessness."
Before he sentenced Brown, the judge said he was saddened that he had given more thought to what the appropriate sentence should be than Brown or the other two defendants had given to the consequences of killing a police officer.