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Woman who abandoned infant seeks review of sentence

July 13, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

A Hagerstown woman convicted of attempted second-degree murder for leaving her newborn son beneath a trailer has asked for a review of her sentence, one of her attorneys said Wednesday.

The lawyers representing Kelly Erin Ruck, 26, have filed a motion to modify her sentence, but they have not yet asked for a hearing, attorney Gordon Lynn said.

"She is not a danger to herself. She is not a danger to anyone else. I don't believe she ever was," Lynn said.

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Ruck was charged with abandoning her baby Sept. 17, 2005, and placing him beneath a trailer behind her 809 Maryland Ave. home. The infant was found under some wood by a neighbor.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III ordered Ruck, who entered an Alford plea in the case, to serve 20 years in prison, with all but five years suspended.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the prosecution has sufficient evidence to win a conviction.

At a hearing to modify the sentence, Boone III could shorten Ruck's sentence or deny the motion, Lynn said. The judge could not lengthen the sentence, he said.

The motion for a review, which had to be filed within 90 days of Ruck's May 15 sentencing, holds open an opportunity for Ruck to ask for a hearing, Lynn said.

Ruck, who has been incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, Md., needs psychiatric treatment, Lynn said.

She wants to be reunited with her baby and family, he said.

He said he is unsure if Ruck has been able to undertake any other forms of treatment. He said Ruck's treatment needs could play role in a hearing to modify the sentence, if it is requested and granted.

"I still honestly believe that this young woman was not in the frame of mind to kill this baby. This young woman was not in the frame of mind to know what was going on at that time. So, we're really looking for the judge to take a second look at this case," Lynn said.

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