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Court to allow appeal by man who shot two people in Hagerstown

December 06, 2000

Court to allow appeal by man who shot two people in Hagerstown



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


Jeffrey Rea Bastine, who is serving a life sentence for a 1992 street shooting in Hagerstown, has been granted the right to exercise his final chance to win his freedom.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled Monday that Bastine can withdraw his April 1998 post-conviction petition and refile it.

In July 1999, Bastine tried unsuccessfully to reopen the hearing, telling Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone that his attorney, Robert Barry, was unprepared and unsuccessful in his attempts to have his hearing postponed.

"I shouldn't have lost my rights because of something that was partially his fault," Bastine argued at that hearing 17 months ago.

The state's second-highest court's ruling shows it agrees with Bastine, 27, an inmate at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup.

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Barry, a public defender, told Judge John H. McDowell at the 1998 hearing that he had been unable to prepare in time because a law passed by Congress in April 1997 set a one-year deadline for prisoners to file post-conviction petitions.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joe Michael said in 1999 that didn't change the fact that Bastine had one post-conviction hearing and that one is all that the law allows.

In addition to the life sentence for shooting Fred Lee Gardin, Bastine was sentenced to 20 years in prison for battery and reckless endangerment in the shooting of Wynette Hunter on June 29, 1992.

The shooting occurred after a group of Hagerstown men, angered by the presence of outsiders in the neighborhood, marched to Sumans Avenue from the Martin Luther King Center.

When they arrived, they confronted Bastine, who went into a house and returned with a loaded 9mm handgun, which he pointed at the crowd.

Gardin was paralyzed by a stray bullet and Hunter, who was wounded in the head, was permanently disabled with brain damage. She has since died.

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