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'Suspicious' death at MCTC probed

July 27, 2000

'Suspicious' death at MCTC probed



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


The death of a Maryland Correctional Training Center inmate Sunday night is being investigated as suspicious and possibly drug-related, prison officials said Thursday.

Bradley David Spitler, 29, of Owings Mills, Md., was found dead at 11:20 p.m. Sunday by a correctional officer, said Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman Dave Towers.

Warden Mike Stouffer said there were no drugs found on or around Spitler's body. He would not say what indicated the death may be drug-related.

Spitler's cellmate was in the cell at the medium-security prison south of Hagerstown when the body was found, Towers said.

Towers would not elaborate on the circumstances of Spitler's death.

"We have to wait for the results of the medical examiner's report," Towers said. Spitler's body was taken to Baltimore for an autopsy.

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Spitler's father, Bud Bowman, said during a telephone interview from his Owing Mills home Thursday night that someone in the state medical examiner's office told him the death appeared drug-related.

If that is the case, Bowman, 68, wants to know how drugs got into the prison.

"I can't even go in that place with a belt buckle on," said Bowman, referring to metal detectors and drug-sniffing dogs used on him when he visited his son.

"I want somebody to wake up because somebody else has got boys in there just like him and they're paying their time," Bowman said. Inmates shouldn't be able to get drugs, he said.

The department's Internal Investigation Unit is conducting an administrative investigation into Spitler's death, as it would any death at the prison, Towers said.

The last inmate death at MCTC was on Aug. 19, 1999, when James Singletary died, Stouffer said. Investigators suspected narcotics since suspected drugs were found on Singletary's body, but that was never proven as the cause of death, Stouffer said.

Stouffer said Singletary's death appeared to be "similar" to Spitler's.

Bowman said he doesn't believe his son was suicidal.

The two talked for the last time July 20 on the eve of Spitler's 29th birthday.

"He was too close to coming home ... He was in great spirits," Bowman said. Spitler was looking forward to getting a job as a mechanic and meeting a female pen pal, his father said.

Spitler began serving a 16-year sentence for burglary and arson Sept. 11, 1990, Towers said. With good behavior Spitler could have been released early in 2003, he said.

Spitler was involved in an attempted burglary in which the suspects tried to burn a safe open, but it backfired and burned the building down, Bowman said.

Bowman theorized that Spitler may have stored drugs in his mouth to hide them from guards and trade them with inmates for other goods, such as cigarettes. Spitler told him he had hidden things in his mouth before such as a $10 bill, Bowman said.

Spitler may have intended to use some of the drugs for personal use, but knew better than to take too much, Bowman said.

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