A Dundalk man, who the Harford County State's Attorney says has "no regard for ...society," was sentenced this week to serve nearly 30 years in jail for two burglaries and other offenses, including having a handcuff key while he was in jail.
"If you're going to break into houses to steal stuff for your drug problem, then we're going to ask for jail time. If you have a history of breaking into people's houses, we're going to ask for serious jail time," State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly said Tuesday.
Cassilly prosecuted the case against William Galvin Ensor, 28, of the 200 block of Dundalk Avenue, who pleaded guilty Monday before retired Circuit Court Judge Maurice Baldwin to two counts of burglary, as well as possession of a firearm as a felon, second-degree assault, possession of a handcuff key in jail and theft more than $1,000.
Baldwin sentenced Ensor to a total of 85 years in prison but suspended all but 28. The judge also put him on five years probation upon release and required Ensor to make restitution to his victims.
Cassilly said the aggressive prosecution of the case and the lengthy sentence should send a strong message to other career criminals who think they can operate in Harford County.
Ensor has already been convicted of three other burglaries in Baltimore County, where he was on parole and on probation, Cassilly said. He also said Ensor has several probation violations and theft convictions. If he's been caught in five burglaries, how many did he do where he wasn't caught, Cassilly surmised.
"So basically Mr. Ensor is just a bad criminal," said Cassilly, who had asked for at least 35 years of the prison term to be served.
"This is a guy who breaks into people's houses; that's what he does," Cassilly continued. "I've had victims say to me, it's not so bad their house was broken into, insurance pays for repairs and buys stuff back after the deductible. But worse than that is they used to be able to come home and think 'I'll be OK.' Now, you can't do that anymore. You drive down the driveway and worry about coming into your house and think 'Is this going to be OK? Is someone going to be hiding in there?'"
Ensor's lawyer, David Henninger, argued for a lighter penalty.
According to Cassilly, Henninger told the judge that in Maryland, a criminal can only be sentenced to 30 years for second-degree murder and Ensor should not be sentenced to more than that for property crimes.
Henninger, who pointed out to the court that his client committed crimes because he has a drug problem, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Ensor admitted to the court he is a drug addict and admitted he steals to trade for drugs, Cassilly said. Then Ensor gave the items he stole to "heroin and crack dealers so they can have them on the street," the prosecutor added.
"That's like telling everybody you have absolutely no regard for the society you live in. That's so selfish, so self-centered," Cassilly said.
The state's attorney says he has to "protect the citizens of my county."
"I don't want people coming home to the damage people like Mr. Ensor commit," he added.
Cassilly cited other recent cases in which burglars with extensive records received hefty sentences in Harford County.
Robert Carrier, 47, whose addresses according to online court records are all some form of jail, was sentenced July 11 to serve 10 years in prison for a second-degree burglary conviction. Five years of the 15-year sentence were suspended.
"He has a long record of drug dealing convictions, theft convictions. He breaks into a shed and steals the tools a guy needs for his livelihood," Cassilly said of Carrier.
Seeking harsh penalties for career criminals isn't new, Cassilly said, pointing to the case of Adam Burk Scott, of Baltimore, who has two shoplifting convictions in Aberdeen and Havre de Grace and is serving a 36-year sentence.
"He has a horrendous record, robberies, other thefts, he was on probation," Cassilly said.
Scott had been offered a sentence of 16 years to serve, as a plea deal, but turned it down, saying he would serve four years because that's what he got in Baltimore City, Cassilly said.
"So we tried it and got a conviction and the judge gave the guy 36 years to serve," he said.
"I don't look at it as punishment. I have to protect the people out there. These people have demonstrated that as soon as they're out of jail, they're looking for the next victim of the next crime they're going to commit," Cassilly said. "[Ensor] is not some guy who made a bad mistake and needs a second chance. He has made multiple, multiple mistakes and shown he's not worthy of a second chance."
On Jan. 12, Ensor broke into a home in Bel Air and later stole two computers from the Staples store in Bel Air, according to charging documents.
A week later, he was caught breaking into an Aberdeen home where the residents kept several handguns, but never loaded, the residents told police at the time.
As he tried to escape from police, Ensor allegedly aimed his car at two deputies who had responded to the scene, according to charging documents. Ensor then wrecked the car he was driving. When he was arrested, police found loaded guns, identified as belonging to the residents of the Aberdeen home, in his car.
On Jan. 25, Ensor was searched at the Harford County Detention Center and found to have a handcuff key in his possession, according to Cassilly.