Whittington denied parole

February 10, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

Whittington denied parole

Jeffrey Todd Whittington, serving a 20-year sentence for the 1993 murder of his bride of three weeks, on Monday lost his bid for parole.

Maryland Parole Commissioners Thomas V. Miller and Michael C. Blount deliberated for four minutes before announcing their decision, which is expected to keep Whittington, 24, in prison for at least 11 more years.

"We have studied and looked over all the criteria we use and, given the serious nature of this horrid crime and the breaks you already got, parole is refused," Blount said.


If he has no infractions while in prison, Whittington could be released no sooner than 2009, prison officials said.

He will have no more parole hearings.

Blount said Whittington could appeal Monday's decision.

Testifying at Monday's hearing were Joseph and Mary Lee Praetz, parents of Missy Praetz, who was strangled and set on fire by Whittington in a car on the Pectonville Road near Clear Spring on Feb. 28, 1993.

Each were given five minutes to talk about what the loss of their daughter meant to them.

"If you can bring Missy back to us, then Jeffrey Todd Whittington can go free," said Mary Lee Praetz to the commissioners.

Her husband described how an argument took the life of his daughter that night.

"I would like to appeal for parole from our life sentence - life without Missy," Joseph Praetz said.

Also attending was Joanne Piper, project coordinator of CrimeStrike, a division of the National Rifle Association, which has a project called Keep Killers In Prison.

Whittington spent two hours in a hearing room answering questions posed by Blount and Miller.

Blount warned Whittington that he and his fellow commissioner would probe his mind about what led to the events that culminated in his wife's death.

Whittington blamed his actions on a number of factors: His quick anger, illegal drug use and attendance at Rave parties, characterized by loud music and drug use.

Whittington said he loved Missy and still does.

"Did you love her death?" Blount asked.

Whittington paused, then said no.

Whittington said Monday he didn't think he was ready for release. He said he needed therapy to deal with issues in his life.

But he told the commissioners he had filed a motion for post-conviction relief, again seeking to have his sentence overturned.

A year ago, Whittington failed to persuade a judge to shorten his 20-year sentence.

A Washington County Circuit Court jury in October 1993 convicted him of second-degree murder and he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

That conviction was overturned. Whittington later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years.

Whittington has been in prison for more than four years. He is now at the Roxbury Correctional Institution.

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