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Man pleads guilty to murder for stabbing father in 2013

According to court records, Joseph Wesley Pine, 32, allegedly sent a text message to his former girlfriend saying, “WWell [sic] I did what I said I would do. Killed dad. But now I think I’ll kill myself.” Pine is charged with first-degree murder has been held at the Carroll County Detention Center since the incident, according to electronic court files. The state is seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to court records, Joseph Wesley Pine, 32, allegedly sent a text message to his former girlfriend saying, “WWell [sic] I did what I said I would do. Killed dad. But now I think I’ll kill myself.” Pine is charged with first-degree murder has been held at the Carroll County Detention Center since the incident, according to electronic court files. The state is seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole. (Submitted photo, HANDOUT)

A Mount Airy man could be sentenced in October to life in prison after pleading guilty Monday to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his father last year.

Joseph Wesley Pine, 32, of the 700 block of Bridlewreath Way, is scheduled be sentenced at 9 a.m. Oct. 10, according to Judge Michael M. Galloway.

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A scheduled two-week jury trial for Pine was set to begin Monday. After a conference with the judge on Sept. 16, however, the attorneys reached a plea agreement, according to public defender Thomas Nugent Jr.

Nugent said he will argue for a lesser sentence than life in prison, which the state will be seeking during sentencing.

Pine's father, Michael J. Pine, 63, died Sept. 2, 2013, after sustaining 22 stabbing wounds and 63 cutting wounds, according to the statement of facts read in support of the plea by Deputy State's Attorney Edward Coyne.

On that day, a neighbor on Bridlewreath Way called police shortly before 3 p.m. when she saw Michael Pine running from his home covered in blood followed by Joseph Pine, who was holding a knife in each hand, according to Coyne.

Joseph Pine called 911 shortly afterward and told the dispatcher he had killed his father, according to Coyne.

When police arrived, Joseph Pine approached with his arms out and again stated he had killed his father, and indicated Michael Pine's body was nearby, according to Coyne.

At trial, the major issue would have been whether the state could prove that Joseph Pine acted deliberately, willfully and with premeditation, the required elements of first-degree murder, according to Nugent.

Joseph Pine sent several text messages in the days before and immediately following his father's death which would have been introduced as evidence, according to Coyne.

Pine sent a message to a friend the day before the stabbing expressing frustration with his father, saying he was going to strangle him and stab him, according to Coyne.

The recipient of the texts thought Pine was venting and did not take the threats seriously, Coyne said.

Pine also sent several people messages after his father's death saying he lost his temper and killed his father, according to Coyne.

Police found several weapons at the scene, including broken knives, intact knives and a meat cleaver, according to Coyne. Analysis by the Maryland State Police Crime Lab confirmed Michael Pine's blood accounted for the majority of the DNA on the blades of the knives and DNA from Joseph Pine was found on the handles.

Monday's plea hearing rendered two pending motions argued before Galloway on Sept. 3 irrelevant, according to Nugent.

Nugent argued, in response to the state's original intention to seek life without the possibility of parole, that Maryland's sentencing regimen for first-degree murder since abolishing the death penalty in 2013 was unconstitutionally arbitrary. Galloway never ruled on the motion and it was rendered moot by the plea agreement, Nugent said.

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The other motion, the state's request to exclude the testimony of a forensic psychiatrist who evaluated Pine and submitted a written report, was also not ruled on and was rendered moot, Nugent said. The psychiatrist will, however, testify at Pine's sentencing.

Coyne provided Galloway with written victim impact statements Monday to be read prior to the sentencing hearing.

Nugent said the state will call additional family and friends of the victim to speak at the sentencing hearing and he anticipates he will have people to speak on Pine's behalf as well.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.

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