Man sentenced in officer's death

Auto manslaughter case closes with emotional hearing in court


A Queenstown man who agreed to a three-year prison term for auto manslaughter after killing a Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer faced the victim's family at a final sentencing hearing Friday.

Albert G. Antonelli, 33, crashed his pickup truck into the police cruiser of Duke G. Aaron III at 10 a.m. July 20, 2004, on the shoulder of U.S. 50.

Aaron, who patrolled the nearby Bay Bridge, died several hours later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He was 29.

Aaron's widow, Jennifer Aaron, placed a picture of her and her husband on their wedding day facing Antonelli.

She also displayed off-white pants spattered with her husband's blood, saying they were a remembrance of the last time that she spent with him alive.

"Your sentence for the crime you have committed in my opinion is too short," she said, glaring at Antonelli and choking back tears.

"Personally, I believe in an eye for an eye, but our justice system believes differently, and I respect that. But I don't worry, because we will all get what we deserve in the end. I have no sympathy on you, nor will I ever."

Antonelli shook his head several times while Aaron's family members read statements, sometimes facing the speakers and sometimes looking away.

Sitting in the jury box were a number of transportation police officers who were allowed to sit there for lack of room in the gallery. About 20 attended in all.

When Antonelli stood to speak, Jennifer Aaron ran out of the court, followed by a family member and a transportation police officer. As Antonelli spoke, Aaron could be heard weeping outside the room.

"To the Aaron family, I would like to say I hope someday, your hearts will soften and you will not hate me," he said. "I do not understand why it was not me who died instead of him. If I could make a trade and bring him back, I would."

Antonelli said in his statement that he didn't recall the accident, and his attorney, Andrew C. White, asked Anne Arundel County Judge Michael E. Loney to consider drug treatment for his client instead of prison time.

Loney denied the request, noting previous opportunities Antonelli might have taken for drug treatment.

Police found drugs in Antonelli's car after the accident, and a blood sample showed byproducts of cocaine in his system.

The plea agreement called for Antonelli to be sentenced to five years in prison with two years suspended. He will be on probation for five years after he is released.

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