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Inmate gets 30 more years in stabbing incident

April 20, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Already serving a lengthy sentence for a series of Baltimore County robberies, Anthony Bruce faces up to 30 more years for attempted second-degree murder.

A Washington County Circuit jury found Bruce guilty of that offense Tuesday after two hours of deliberations.

Bruce was charged with stabbing his cellmate at the Roxbury Correctional Institution a dozen times last June.

Bruce, 35, was found not guilty of attempted first-degree murder.

Defense attorney Eric Reed pushed for sentencing following the jury's verdict but Circuit Judge Donald Beachley postponed sentencing, saying he wanted to know more about Bruce's past.

"He's a three-time loser," said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joe Michael.

Indicted by a grand jury last summer, Bruce was accused in the June 27, 1998, stabbing of the RCI inmate who was attacked after returning from a shower in the segregation wing.

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Procedure dictates that segregation prisoners have their hands cuffed behind their backs when coming and going from their cells to the shower, testimony revealed.

Testimony also revealed that the victim, Jerry Thurman, 23, was put back in the cell he shared with Bruce at about 8:30 p.m. and that he turned his back to the door and placed his handcuffed hands through the slot in the cell door so the cuffs could be removed.

While his hands were in the slot and he was still handcuffed, he was stabbed 12 to 14 times in the left chest and shoulder area, according to testimony.

The cell door was opened and Thurman was rushed to Washington County Hospital for treatment of the stab wounds, testimony revealed. He was released to the custody of prison officials the next day.

"Is there some other reasonable explanation of how Thurman got stabbed?" Michael asked the jury in his closing remarks.

Reed insisted to the jurors that it didn't happen the way the correctional officers said it happened.

"There was no weapon found in the cell," Reed said.

The Maryland State Police officers who investigated the stabbing were unable to find a weapon.

Maintenance workers were called in to search for a weapon, but they were unsuccessful.

Bruce didn't testify in the all-day trial. He is being held at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in Baltimore, known as Super Max.

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