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Killer's request denied

May 20, 2002|BY ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A three-judge panel has rejected a request by convicted murderer Wayne Alan Foster to change his sentence.

Foster was found guilty in 1982 of shooting and killing his wife, Sherry Foster, who was found dead in her car on Md. 66 near Smithsburg. She had five gunshot wounds.

Foster was originally sentenced to life in prison on the murder charge, plus 15 consecutive years on a count of using a handgun during the commission of a felony.

On Feb. 27, at Foster's request, Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III changed the sentence to life in prison plus 10 concurrent years.

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Through his attorney, Gregory C. Bannon, Foster, 55, asked the panel in March to reconsider the sentence. His application included several letters from people who knew him and vouched for his character and model behavior as an inmate.

The state countered by asking the panel to reinstate Foster's original sentence of life plus 15 consecutive years. The state's response included letters from people opposed to Foster getting a shorter sentence, which could lead to his release.

In an order dated Thursday, the panel - Washington County Circuit Judges W. Kennedy Boone III and Donald E. Beachley and Allegany County Circuit Judge Gary G. Leasure - rejected the defense and prosecution requests and left the sentence alone.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joseph Michael, the prosecutor, had no comment on the panel's decision.

Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long said the state's position in court filings speaks for itself.

Bannon was not in his office Friday and did not return a message left there.

Foster was scheduled to have an open parole hearing on Aug. 21, 1995, but he postponed it, according to Leonard A. Sipes Jr., a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The hearing was not rescheduled.

Last year, Foster was denied a new trial based on the claim his original defense attorney, Paul Ottinger, was ineffective.

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