5 years in Md. student killing
A former Frostburg State University student was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for fatally shooting a school basketball player and wounding another who had come to his off-campus apartment looking for a fist fight in a dispute instigated by a woman.
Finan likened the case to a Shakespearean tragedy, with a "razor-thin" line between Hall's self-defense claim and the criminal allegations.
The one-time high-school soccer star pleaded guilty Oct. 22 to manslaughter and second-degree assault, abruptly ending jury deliberations in his first-degree murder trial. The plea deal limited Hall's possible prison time to eight years for offenses that carry a combined maximum penalty of 20.
Finan suspended an additional five years of prison time and ordered Hall placed on two years unsupervised probation after his release.
Hall acknowledged in court Wednesday that he used too much force when he fired a 12-gauge shotgun from his front doorstep, killing Brandon M. Carroll, 20, of Waldorf, and wounding Ellis E. Hartridge Jr., 22, of Washington.
"At no time that night did I act out of hate, malice or anger but only out of fear," Hall said. He apologized for his actions and said he prays nightly for the victims' families.
Carroll had driven with Hartridge and another teammate to Hall's apartment early on the morning of April 18. Hartridge testified he wanted to fight Hall because Patrice Britton, a woman whom both had dated, told him that Hall had hit her in the face during a shoving match at a party early that night. Britton's claim wasn't corroborated.
The athletes, followed by Britton and several others, were confronted at the apartment by Hall and four of his friends, all of whom backed up his self-defense claim in their trial testimony.
Hartridge, who is back on the basketball team, said in a statement read in court by his sister Chanel that Carroll had gone to the apartment with no intention of fighting. Hartridge said his friend and teammate had planned to break things up if anyone else jumped in.
Hartridge said that while he was wrong for wanting to fight Hall, "I did not pull the trigger and kill Brandon Carroll. The one who has killed Brandon Carroll is Tyrone Hall."
Judge Finan noted from the bench that Britton set the events in motion by telling Hartridge that Hall had hit her.
Britton, who was in the packed courtroom, occasionally wiped her eyes and nose during the hearing. She declined to comment afterward.
Hartridge's father, Ellis Hartridge Sr., indicated after the hearing that Britton was partly responsible for the tragedy. He called her "the young lady spinning the wheel that gets to walk free."
Carroll's parents said in a written statement to reporters that Hall's prison sentence was too short, amounting to "no more than a 'time-out.'"
"We did not get justice for our son's murder," said Faye Carroll, Brandon's mother.
the Associated Press
| November 11, 2010; 7:55 AM ET
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