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Prison time reduced for Maugansville man convicted of 2008 assault

Rodney Wolfe, formerly of 17933 Alpine Drive, will now serve sentences concurrently

March 18, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

After an appeals court ruled that the original sentence violated a plea agreement, a Washington County Circuit Court judge Thursday reduced the prison time for a Maugansville man convicted of a 2008 assault from 17 years to 10.

Rodney Wolfe, 38, formerly of 17933 Alpine Drive, was serving a 10-year sentence for second-degree assault and second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, charges to which he entered guilty pleas on Oct. 30, 2008, according to court records.

The sentence imposed by Circuit Judge John H. McDowell ran consecutively to a seven-year sentence in another assault, the court records said.

In his application to appeal his sentence, Wolfe's lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Loren Villa, said that Wolfe misunderstood the plea agreement, believing he would receive 10 years for the two assault convictions to run concurrently with the sentence in the other case.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals decided in Wolfe's favor, ruling "the court imposed a sentence which differed from the agreed upon sentence in the plea agreement."

While Wolfe believed he was to serve the 10 years concurrent to the other sentence, the prosecution maintained "the agreement was silent as to whether (Wolfe's) sentence would be concurrent or consecutive," the court wrote.

"Ambiguities in a plea agreement must be resolved in favor of the defendant," the ruling said.

The charges stemmed from an incident on Jan. 24, 2008, when Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies and Maryland State Police went to a house in Williamsport for a report of a domestic disturbance, according to the charging documents filed by the sheriff's office.

When they arrived, one of Wolfe's daughters told them her mother, Heather Twigg, and another of Wolfe's daughters were inside, the documents said.

Police found Twigg and her daughter a bedroom and later discovered Wolfe hiding under the bed, the documents said.

After he was handcuffed, Wolfe fought with the deputies and troopers, kicking at them and swinging with his handcuffed arms, the documents said.

Before police arrived, Wolfe struck, choked and threatened Twigg with a knife, the documents said.

Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael told McDowell that the original plea and sentence, handled by another prosecutor, "seemed abundantly clear," although the appeals court disagreed. Michael said he was concerned Wolfe would harm Twigg when he is released.

McDowell ordered Wolfe to have no contact with Twigg or a trooper assaulted in the incident after he is released from state prison.

"I have no ill feelings toward Heather .... That's something that's in the past," said Wolfe, who told McDowell he is involved in anti-domestic violence programs in prison.

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