2 city men sentenced for fatal '05 shooting


October 24, 2006|By JULIE BYKOWICZ

Two Baltimore men with violent criminal histories were sentenced yesterday to life in prison plus more than 100 years each for killing one man and trying to kill two others last year in Park Heights.

Cyrus Lee Beads, 20, of the 3800 block of Cottage Ave. received a term of life plus 103 years and Joseph Omar Smith, 24, of the 2400 block of Lakeview Ave. received a term of life plus 150 years.

The details of the crime and the background of the defendants prompted Baltimore Circuit Judge Allen F. Schwait to say, "Our city is in enormous trouble," and discuss the relationship of drugs to violence.

Smith was on parole for an attempted murder he committed at age 16 when the triple shooting occurred in June 2005.

Lawrence Johnson, Ryan McCutcheon and Jeremy Drake were sitting on a porch in the 3800 block of Roland View Avenue, near the Oswego Mall apartment complex, when they were shot. Johnson was killed in the attack.

Immediately after the shooting, Beads and Smith rushed into an apartment with guns and used the bathroom to wash up and change clothes, prosecutors said.

State and federal authorities have targeted the crime-ridden neighborhoods of Park Heights through "Operation Oswego." Four Baltimore men were indicted this spring on federal drug distribution charges.

Some of the judge's comments were included in a Baltimore state's attorney's office news release.

Schwait said he was quoted accurately in the release but questioned the political motives of the state's attorney's office.

In an interview yesterday evening, the judge said the city has made gains in some areas but could benefit from new approaches to drug treatment, youth education and family counseling.

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