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Judge sentences man for attempted second-degree murder

September 28, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Antonio Lambert will serve at least half of the 25-year prison term he received Tuesday for the April shooting of an unarmed man on Jonathan Street because it was a crime of violence.

The 23-year-old New York native had a history of crime before he appeared in court before Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley for judgment.

"Four months is the longest Mr. Lambert hasn't been in custody or on supervision since he was 15 years old," said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joe Michael.

Those four months were from Dec. 31, 1998, when he was released from prison in New York until the April 24 shooting of James Otis Daniel, 32, of Decatur, Ga., on a Hagerstown street.

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Lambert pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder Monday and was sentenced Tuesday. He was silent at his sentencing.

The victim, now permanently confined to a wheelchair, was in court Tuesday. He also was silent, letting Jill Ritter, victim witness coordinator for the State's Attorney's Office, speak for him.

"He remembers that night," Ritter told the judge. "It's changed his life dramatically. Now he lives with his sister."

According to court records, a Hagerstown City Police officer patrolling the area around Jonathan Street at about 2:45 a.m. on April 24 heard three gunshots coming from the 300 block of Jonathan Street.

Police arrived within minutes and found Daniel on the ground, shot in the abdomen. He was admitted to Washington County Hospital in critical condition.

Lambert, then of 33 Avalon Ave., Hagerstown, was picked up eight hours later in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Police said it appears Daniel and Lambert got into an argument over a radio, and that argument turned violent.

Lambert's violent past included an unspecified juvenile delinquency at 15, an attempted robbery in New York when he was 17, an escape from confinement for that crime and then more prison time at Sing Sing in New York, Michael said.

He later was paroled, but his parole was revoked in 1996 when he was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon.

"He got three years and he served every day of those three years," Michael said, noting he was released on Dec. 31, 1998.

In jail in Hagerstown since April, Lambert was put on segregation there for attacking another inmate at the Washington County Detention Center, Michael told the judge.

Defense attorney Carl Creeden noted that Lambert admitted his guilt, sparing Daniel from having to testify at a trial.

"Mr. Daniel will never be the same ... nor will Mr. Lambert," Creeden said.

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