Lutherville man sentenced for making threat

He said he would shoot 2 inspectors

December 18, 2007|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,Sun reporter

A 43-year-old Lutherville man was sentenced to 18 months of home detention yesterday for threatening to shoot two county zoning officers who had come to inspect his Falls Road property.

Steven L. Galasso entered an Alford plea last month to one count of second-degree assault, acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him of the crime while not admitting guilt.

He apologized yesterday in court to the two zoning inspectors, who came to his home in March. On that occasion, Galasso loaded two shells into a shotgun and cocked the weapon before yelling at the code enforcement officers to get off his property or get shot, according to court documents.

The incident followed a long-running zoning dispute between Baltimore County and Galasso, who owns land near Falls Road and Seminary Avenue.

Zoned rural-residential, the property was once home to a wagon repair shop that opened in 1849, said Baltimore County prosecutor Leo Ryan Jr. That business was grandfathered into county zoning regulations, and county officials said that Galasso could not operate his auto repair shop there.

The zoning officers visited the property in preparation for an administrative hearing with the county's Department of Permits and Development Management, court records show.

Galasso, who had been locked up in the Baltimore County Detention Center since his plea hearing Nov. 15, told the judge that incarceration has "taught me a lot."

"It's been the lowest point of my life," he told Baltimore County Circuit Judge Robert N. Dugan at the sentencing hearing.

Galasso was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended. The judge ordered that the sentence be served on home detention. Dugan also directed Galasso to pay a $2,500 fine, relinquish all weapons - including an archery set - refrain from target practice on his property and cooperate with all zoning inspectors, even during unannounced visits.

The judge also ordered Galasso to serve five years of supervised probation after competition of his 18-month sentence.

jennifer.mcmenamin@ baltsun.com

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