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Judge drops manslaughter charges against driver


A Baltimore County judge today dismissed manslaughter charges against John Charles Glaser, 37, the Stephensville man whose previous auto-manslaughter conviction was overturned because he had paid a $35 traffic ticket.

Glaser, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 1990 for manslaughter in the highway death of Everett Lee Jones, 30, of North Point, had that conviction overturned in May on double jeopardy grounds. The Constitution prohibits prosecution twice for the same crime.

Circuit Court Judge John Grason Turnbull 2nd today said it would be improper to let the state attempt the impossible -- to prosecute Glaser for manslaughter without mentioning the fact that he was driving the wrong way on the Beltway.

"I cannot think, having practiced law for 18 years and having been on the bench for five years," Turnbull said, "of how you can do this. There is just no way to separate the driving the wrong way on the highway" from the other elements of the accident.

Prosecutor John Cox conceded it would be difficult, but he argued that evidence of gross negligence merits a manslaughter conviction.

The mother of Jones stormed out of the courtroom, tearfully saying, "The victim has no rights."

The judge reduced Glaser's bail from $30,000 to $5,000 but refused to dismiss driving while intoxicated and reckless driving charges.

Gil Cochran, one of Glaser's attorneys, said he hoped to have his client out of jail "within 24 hours." Glaser has been in prison since November 1989.

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