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Court upholds stabbing sentence

August 07, 2000

Court upholds stabbing sentence



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has upheld Anthony Bruce's 25-year prison sentence for the attempted second-degree murder of his Roxbury Correctional Institution cellmate in June 1998.

In its opinion filed Friday, the state's second highest court disagreed with Bruce's contention that inaccuracies in the first count of the grand jury's indictment should have prevented the jury from deliberating.

The jury acquitted Bruce of that attempted first-degree murder count.

While acknowledging the inaccuracy, the higher court chalked it up to a typing error and disagreed that the omission was a reversible error.

Bruce also argued that Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joe Michael made several references during closing arguments concerning the defendant's failure to testify.

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The higher court noted that Bruce didn't object at the time of the comments and thus waived his right to object later.

Bruce was sentenced Nov. 30 to 25 years in prison without parole. Since the incident, Bruce has been held at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in Baltimore, known as Super Max.

His third crime of violence, Bruce is serving Judge Don Beachley's sentence on top of a 40-year term for a series of Baltimore County robberies in 1988.

At his sentencing, Bruce, then 35, asked Beachley to make the new sentence concurrent to the one he is serving.

"I've already been in prison over a decade," Bruce said in November. "I could have killed him if I'd wanted to."

Bruce was implicated in the June 27, 1998 attack on an RCI inmate who was stabbed more than a dozen times after returning from a shower in the segregation wing.

The victim, Jerry Thurman, then 23, was put back in the cell he shared with Bruce at about 8:30 p.m. 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, according to testimony.

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, court records said.

The cell door was opened and Thurman was rushed to Washington County Hospital for treatment of the stab wounds.

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