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Man sentenced in death of fellow inmate

March 01, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

A 23-year-old man convicted of beating a fellow inmate to death for playing a television too loud was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole despite his attorney's protests that his client was repeatedly abused and mildly retarded.

Damon Frye was convicted of first-degree murder in September 2001 in the beating death of Mark Eugene Reed, 41, of Newburg, Md.

Prosecutors said Frye used his hands, feet and a television set to fatally beat Reed at the Roxbury Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown on Dec. 27, 1999.

At the time, Frye was serving a 15-year-sentence for attempted second-degree murder, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Steve Kessell.

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Reed had completed one year of a four-year sentence for a burglary conviction when he was killed.

Frye showed no emotion when Washington County Circuit Judge John McDowell imposed the sentence. He did not comment when given the opportunity.

McDowell said Frye needed to be removed from society because of the brutality of the crime and his attempts to hide it.

McDowell said that the beating was prolonged and "at any point he could have stopped."

After the beating, Frye changed his clothes and turned his socks inside out to avoid detection. He went to a common area to watch a football game for about an hour before telling prison officials Reed was hurt, Kessell said.

Frye's attorney, Craig Garfield, said he understood the feelings of the victim's family but said there were mitigating circumstances that warranted the possibility of parole.

Frye was repeatedly abused and neglected by his mother and his father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail, he said.

Frye's mother "would fly into rages without warning," Garfield said.

Frye was ill from eating lead paint chips and is mildly retarded, Garfield said.

Allowing Frye the possibility of parole would "give him a ray of hope," Garfield said.

Reed's mother and sister attended the sentencing. They declined to comment.

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