A Columbia man convicted of fatally stabbing another man in Harper's Choice last September was sentenced to serve five years in the Maryland Department of Corrections on Friday.
Anthony Patrick Parker, 53, of the 6000 block of Majors Lane, was sentenced to 10 years by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Louis A. Becker III, with five years of the sentence suspended.
In April, a jury found Parker guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the September 2011 stabbing death of 46-year-old Phillip Edward Wise, in a parking lot near the Fall River Terrace apartment complex in Columbia. Wise was stabbed five times with an eight-inch knife, including a stab wound to the heart.
According to court testimony, Wise and Parker, who were acquaintances, were amicably drinking and smoking marijuana on the day of the incident, but then a fight erupted.
Becker accepted Parker's testimony that Wise initiated the altercation by swinging a hammer at him, and that he was acting in self-defense.
"There's no question to me Mr. Parker was attacked with a claw hammer, and there is no question Mr. Wise initiated violent confrontation," Becker said.
Parker's defense attorney Joseph Murtha said that Parker's claim to self-defense was corroborated by his DNA on the claw hammer and a bruise on his head.
"Mr. Parker was confronted with the decision to die or protect himself," Murtha said. "If he hadn't defended himself, he would've likely been killed instead of persecuted."
Parker addressed the courtroom and said he was "truly sorry" for what happened, and that if he was guilty of anything, it was protecting his own life.
Wise's mother, Marie Laguerre, said she harbors no ill will or anger toward Parker and his family.
"It is what it is, I'm glad it's over," Lagurre said. "I'm not God, I can't bring down judgment on people. ... (Parker) has a higher person to answer to."
She added: Lagurre added that no sentence, no matter how long, would bring her son back.
"My son is gone, and I can't bring him back," Lagurre said.
Becker said Parker's criminal history, which includes a previous felony murder conviction, also factored into his sentencing decision.
"The sentence would be less if he didn't have his (criminal) background," Becker said.
Becker said that, although he did not grant it, the prosecution's request for the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison was reasonable.
Parker received 380 days credit for time served.
The prosecution declined to comment on Becker's ruling.