A Columbia teenager must serve 25 years in prison for two crimes atop the 55 years he's already serving for a 2006 murder, a Howard County judge ruled Thursday.
All of Monti Mantrice Fleming's crimes — the murder, a shooting and an armed robbery — occurred during a short period when he was 15.
Howard County Circuit Judge Louis A. Becker agreed to recommend Fleming, who had a long juvenile record before his more serious crimes, for consideration for admission to Patuxent Institution's Youthful Offender Program, agreeing with defense attorney Joseph Murtha's assertions that his client has matured some and has been trying to change his outlook while behind bars in a state maximum-security prison in Cumberland.
Fleming was sentenced for shooting a Columbia man in the leg and for using the same gun to rob and pistol whip a pair of Pennsylvania brothers after forcing his way into their motel room with two accomplices. Both crimes occurred in August 2006, days after Fleming shot and killed Shawn Powell, according to court records. He was sentenced for that crime in 2008.
According to an undisputed statement of facts, Fleming had threatened Mark Golston in front of Golston's Columbia home, accusing him of talking to county police about drug dealing in the neighborhood. Later, he returned to Golston's house, asked to see him and fired five shots at the man when he emerged from the house. One bullet hit Golston in the leg.
Seven days later, according to the statement, Fleming was one of three youths who at 2:38 a.m. knocked on the motel room door of Jon and Justin Shaffer, Pennsylvania iron workers in Maryland on a construction job. The youths forced their way into the room, one putting a gun to Jon Shaffer's head and taking $500 from his pocket. When Justin Shaffer woke up, both brothers were beaten on the heads with the pistol as the thieves ransacked the room, finding another $120. Police stopped a van a short time later and arrested one of the suspects. Fingerprints led to the others. Fleming was found at a relative's house in Upper Marlboro, along with the gun and Jon Shaffer's cell phone. DNA also linked Fleming to the robbery,
Fleming, a tall young man wearing a white T-shirt and glasses, read a statement in court apologizing to his victims, who were not present. He also apologized to his mother, Katrina Smith, who was in the courtroom, to the judge and to society in general.
"Forgive me. I was around the wrong crowd, and I lost my sense of direction," he said. Fleming also said he was high on drugs and drunk at that time."I was an immature 15-year old. Now, I'm a disciplined, mature 19-year old. All I ask is to be given a second chance."
Smith had told the judge, "I failed him as a mother."
The judge split the difference between the concurrent sentence Murtha wanted and a 40-year consecutive sentence requested by the prosecutor, James J. Dietrich. After the sentencing, Dietrich said Fleming would first become eligible for parole in 40 years, when he is 60, and then only if the governor is willing to authorize that in the murder case.
Murtha argued that a consecutive 40-year sentence was "tantamount to life without parole. He would never be parole-eligible." Fleming pleaded guilty to the robbery and assault charges last year.
Becker said he agreed with social worker Beate Zipperle's recommendation that Fleming be considered for Patuxent's program because he might be paroled one day.
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