GOP blames Glendening for killer's escape

September 25, 1997


Staff Writer

The Maryland Republican Party Wednesday apologized to Montana on behalf of Maryland for a former Clear Spring resident who shot a sheriff's deputy last week.

The state GOP also criticized Gov. Parris N. Glendening for policies that allowed Charles Elmer Carpenter to go on unsupervised leave from prison.

Meanwhile, Montana investigators unearthed more details surrounding last Friday's gunfight in which Carpenter, 32, was killed and Deputy Brian Robinson was wounded.


Using fingerprints, investigators determined Wednesday that the woman who was killed along with Carpenter outside the small mining town of Landusky was Henrietta Revels Clark, Carpenter's 28-year-old half-sister.

Investigators also continued to evaluate items found in Carpenter's car - including a stash of guns - and were trying determine whether he was involved in an armed robbery in Minnesota.

Maryland GOP officials said Glendening's tough-on-crime rhetoric rings hollow since Carpenter was given an unsupervised pass to visit a relative in Baltimore on weekends. He was serving a life sentence at the Patuxent Institution for the 1982 murder of his 77-year-old grandmother in Clear Spring.

"Thank God (the deputy) wasn't killed. But when are they going to learn they can't do that," said state GOP chairwoman Joyce Lyons Terhes. "Nobody cares about the victims."

Glendening aide Ray Feldmann accused the Republicans of using the incident to score political points.

"We're disappointed that this has turned into a political issue. This is a tragedy," he said. "No one is tougher on violent crime or violent criminals that Governor Glendening."

But Terhes defended the action as a necessary step to draw attention to a policy that gives convicted murderers work-release and leave privileges. Opposing parole is meaningless if criminals can walk off prison grounds, she said.

"You don't need parole if you're going to let individuals serving life sentences get out on work-release," she said.

Jim Burton, a GOP spokesman, said Glendening did not publicly support bills in the General Assembly in 1995 and 1996 that would have eliminated work-release, family leave and special leave for murderers serving life sentences. Both bills died in committee.

Feldman said he was not aware of the legislation and could not comment. But he said Glendening's record has been consistent.

"Everyone knows the governor has taken an extremely tough stance on keeping violent offenders off the streets," he said.

Leonard A. Sipes Jr., a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said few laws can apply retroactively to prison inmates.

The events leading up to the dramatic showdown in Montana, meanwhile, are beginning to come into sharper focus.

A woman who was arrested before the shootout took a bus from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Wisconsin to hook up with Carpenter and Clark, according to Arlyn Greydanus, bureau chief of the Montana Criminal Investigation Bureau.

That woman, Robin Collins, and Clark were wanted for burglary in Colorado Springs, Greydanus said. He said officials believe the two were roommates there in 1996.

Greydanus also said the trio may have been involved in an armed robbery in Minnesota.

Clark was first shot in the head with a .22-caliber sawed-off rifle that she had fired at the deputy during the gunfight, Greydanus said. The fatal shot to the chest came from the 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun that Carpenter was carrying, he said.

Greydanus said Collins told authorities that Carpenter and Clark had made a pact not to be taken alive by police.

Both the van and car that the three drove through Minnesota contained numerous items, including guns and tools, Greydanus said. He said officials are checking anything with a serial number to see if the items were stolen.

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