Life sentence upheld in Annapolis killing

CRIME WATCH

Baltimore & Region

October 07, 2005|By ANDREA F. SIEGEL

A judicial panel has upheld the sentence of life without parole plus 30 years for a teenager convicted in the 2002 carjack-killing of a man unloading packages in front of his home in Annapolis' Historic District.

The decision by three Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judges, filed yesterday, was reached a day after judges heard Terrence Tolbert's request for a shorter sentence in the killing of Straughan Lee Griffin, 51.

Tolbert was 19 at the time of the crime that terrified the quiet and upscale neighborhood just blocks from the State House. He was sentenced in February.

Tolbert received an outpouring of community support after he lost his right arm as a child in an electrical transformer mishap. "While the Panel appreciates the difficulties [Tolbert] endured as a result of his disability, nothing can justify the brutal and heinous acts of which [he] was convicted," the judges wrote.

Mark Van Bavel, Tolbert's attorney, declined to comment on the decision.

Tolbert's neighbor and alleged accomplice, Leeander Jerome "Sweater" Blake, then 17, has not gone to trial on murder and related charges. Next month, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear pretrial issues related to the statement Blake made to Annapolis police.

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