Combative to the end, a 31-year-old murder defendant stood in court at his sentencing Wednesday and accused the judge, prosecutors and detectives of lying, ganging up on him and ignoring evidence that would have set him free.
"You all just wanted to blame me — you all just wanted to set me up," said Frederick A. Christian, looking directly at Baltimore County Circuit Judge Sherrie R. Bailey. Waving documents from his legal file, Christian repeatedly referred to what he said were mistakes and omissions in the state's case against him. He also criticized his attorney.
But he did not specifically deny committing the crime of which a jury had found him guilty: the first-degree murder of his 23-year-old girlfriend, Jerryell Myesha Foster, who had borne him a child and with whom he had quarreled two days before she vanished.
"All these stories that I was abusive and that I gave her a black eye — all that's a lie," said Christian, who claimed his trial had been unfair and threatened to stay in court all day to argue his case. "I don't want to be sentenced. I don't want to be here."
"I strongly suspect no one wants to be sentenced," the judge replied. She followed the prosecution's advice and sentenced Christian to life in prison without parole, with a consecutive 20-year term for using a handgun in a violent crime. Christian said he would appeal.
Christian, a used-car salesman with a criminal history going back to his teenage years, was accused of fatally shooting Foster in November 2009 in the apartment they shared in Cockeysville and dumping her body in rural Virginia. Prosecutor David Lemanski said there was evidence to suggest that the couple's daughter, who was 2 years old at the time, was in the apartment when the murder took place.
Lemanski said the defendant had doused the apartment's carpets with bleach to mask blood stains and got rid of a red love seat that likely also bore evidence of the killing. Foster's body was found several months later, and an autopsy showed she had been shot twice.
Marilyn Hall, a member of the jury that convicted Christian, attended Wednesday's sentencing and said she and her fellow jurors had no doubts about the state's case. "We went ahead and dissected every piece of evidence that we had," said Hall, a 65-year-old legal assistant.
"This guy is never going to let these people have peace," Hall said. "He's going to be a jailhouse attorney, and he's going to appeal and appeal. He's got to have control."
Christian's defense lawyer, Donald Daneman, said problems had arisen in his client's relationship with the victim because she was "a little too immature" to take care of their child. "She was running around in nightclubs," Daneman said, while Christian was at home, tending to the toddler's needs.
"I'm not diminishing what occurred," the lawyer said, "but something pushed somebody over the edge."