An Owings Mills man was sentenced Friday to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for what Baltimore County Circuit Judge Patrick Cavanaugh called "an execution" of a father of two who ran a snowball stand on Reisterstown Road.
Gerald E. Sears, 33, was convicted in the 2009 killing of Scott M. Greenberg, 50, who was found with six gunshot wounds to the head in the kitchen of his parents' home after a dispute over $150 worth of crack cocaine, prosecutors said.
Sears had gone to the home on Velvet Valley Way, where Greenberg was living, to sell him drugs when Sears became angry because Greenberg wouldn't pay, then shot him in the head and neck with a .22-caliber revolver, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said he left the Owings Mills home with Greenberg's cellphone, wallet and bank card. The belongings were never found, but they said cellphone records showed calls between Greenberg and Sears and investigators tracked the cellphone using transmission towers.
Sears chose not to speak at the sentencing.
Scott Greenberg's father, Fred, said, "It's been three years, your honor, it hasn't gotten better. …This man destroyed our lives."
He read a statement from his daughter, the victim's sister, which spoke of the fear that has gripped the family. Occasionally, Greenberg stopped to look at Sears and paused, but Sears continued to look toward the judge.
Scott Greenberg's ex-wife, Lisa Greenberg, described "the most sickening moment" of her life, when she had to tell her two young children that their father had died.
Sears' lawyer, Kay A. Beehler of the Office of the Public Defender, had argued during the jury trial that the state had no basis for a conviction. On Friday, she said prosecutors offered Sears a second-degree murder plea in which all but 25 years of a life sentence would be suspended, but Sears did not take the offer and maintained his innocence.
Beehler said the killing arose from "an addiction so bad." She said Sears is "certainly capable of being rehabilitated," given only one previous conviction in New York for burglary when he was 19.
But Assistant State's Attorney Adam Lippe argued that Sears was a predator. "There is no redeeming value to what the defendant did or said," he said.
After giving Sears the life sentence, Cavanaugh said, "I hope he never draws a free breath without those bars in front of him."
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