Teen gets 40-year sentence for Anne Arundel murder

Baltimore & Region


The sorrow of two mothers over the fates of their only children -- one convicted of killing the other -- led to an emotionally high-pitched sentencing yesterday in an Anne Arundel County courtroom.

Marjorie Johnson, the mother of slain teenager Doray D. Jones, collapsed in tears and had to be carried from the courtroom as Stephanie Sloan, the mother of Jones' killer, pleaded for her forgiveness and for leniency from Circuit Judge Michael E. Loney.

Loney sentenced Anthony Deyonko Switzer to serve 40 years in prison for the murder of Jones and the attempted murder of two women loading their children into a car in what Switzer's friends told police was Switzer's desire to "catch a body" with a shotgun he had helped to steal.

In court, Sloan told Johnson she wanted to hold her and "tell you that we are praying for you."

Johnson crumpled into loud wails that could be heard inside the courtroom after relatives carried her into the corridor.

Shortly before that, Johnson had become hysterical, sobbing as she told the judge that despite counseling and the love of a close-knit family, she has ached in emptiness since the Aug. 20, 2004, killing of her 18-year-old son.

"He was all I had," she said.

Prosecutors had sought life without parole for Switzer, a tall, soft-spoken youth who was a 16-year-old honor-roll student and, by family accounts, a thoughtful and respectful child at the time of the killing.

"He knew better," Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Poma said.

Switzer, who was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in July, had fired at random at a motorist. Not knowing that he had killed Jones, he later fired at another vehicle. Pellets zoomed past a woman and her future mother-in-law as she was getting her twin 9-year-old girls into her car.

Seeking leniency, defense lawyer David Schertler blamed peer pressure and youthful impulsiveness for the crimes.

But Loney said the decision to take a human life was not an adolescent prank. For Jones' killing, he sentenced Switzer to life in prison, suspending all but 30 years. He added 10 years for the attempted murder, plus five years of probation.andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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