Ward gets 40 years

April 13, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Karim Ali Ward on Monday denied pulling the trigger in the Dec. 14, 2002, shooting death of Carl Anthony Wallace and then was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Ward, 28, whose last known address before his arrest was 1725 Springhouse Court in Frederick, Md., was found guilty in February of second-degree murder; use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence; wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun; unlawful possession of a regulated firearm; unlawful possession of a firearm; and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony.

Wallace, 28, of Asbury Park, N.J., was shot multiple times outside 466 N. Jonathan St. early on Dec. 14, 2002. Witnesses testified the shooting happened after a fight between two women outside the residence.


Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley sentenced Ward to 30 years in prison on the second-degree murder charge and to a consecutive 10-year sentence on the charge of using a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence.

He also sentenced Ward to serve a concurrent three-year sentence on the unlawful possession of a regulated firearm charge.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joseph Michael said the remaining weapons charges were merged into the more serious weapons convictions.

The first five years of the sentence on the charge of using a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence must be served, said Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Charles Strong. He said that since second-degree murder is considered a crime of violence, Ward must serve at least half of his 30-year sentence on that charge.

Ward, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants, his dreadlocks pulled low in two pigtails, apologized for his appearance, saying that he had outgrown his suit. He denied any involvement in Wallace's death.

"I was there and I was there when the shots rang out. I ran just like everybody else," he said.

Ward discussed why he showed no remorse during the trial, saying that he is his mother's son and "this is my facial expression."

"It's hard for me to sit here and cry over a man I didn't even know when my life's been taken away from me," he said.

Ward said he has two children whom he wants to be raised differently than he was. He said his mother served 15 years in prison.

Wallace's sister, Theresa Wallace Swanson, said Wallace was the "life of our family" and that his laughter and his "big heart" are irreplaceable.

"The morning that we received the phone call that Carl (Wallace) was gunned down in the streets was the worst day of our lives," she said.

Swanson, 32, showed the court a framed photograph of her brother and thanked the police, prosecutors and others for their support.

"Karim is a coward who committed a cowardly, evil act. ... He did not stop to think whose son, father, brother or friend that he was killing," she said.

Swanson said after the hearing that no sentence will bring her brother back.

"He got the maximum sentence. To me, he's 28, that's life already. When he gets out that'll be life," she said.

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