An enraged mother took the ashes of her murdered daughter into Baltimore Circuit Court yesterday to protest a plea bargain that allowed the killer to go free and perform community service work at a soup kitchen.
"This is what I've got left of my daughter," said Earllen Rowe, as she showed Judge Kenneth Lavon Johnson a golden urn containing the cremated remains of her daughter, Andrea Maddox. "I can't talk to her anymore . . . and now her killer is only going to get community service."
Ms. Rowe added, "I can't believe in Maryland, where crime is rampant, that if you kill someone you'll get a plea bargain."
Ms. Maddox, 21, was stabbed three times Dec. 26, 1991, after an argument with Shonte Davenport in the 400 block of Swann Ave. Davenport, 21, who used a kitchen knife in what she said was self-defense, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Judge Johnson sentenced her yesterday to 20 years, but suspended the sentence. In lieu of jail time, he ordered her to perform 10 hours of community service a week for the next three years at Bea Gaddy's East Baltimore soup kitchen.
The judge also required Davenport to be on supervised probation for five years and pay the victim's family $4,700, the cost of the funeral.
The judge noted Davenport's clean criminal record and the fact that Ms. Maddox, a guard at the Maryland Penitentiary, had apparently instigated the fight.
"What we have here is a very unfortunate situation, to say the least. I never feel comfortable with a case like this, no judge does," Judge Johnson said.
"But what cannot be overlooked is that the victim put [Davenport] in a situation . . . and set the whole thing up."
Davenport, a former secretary at the Social Security Administration, was visiting a male friend at his apartment when the man's former girlfriend came over with Ms. Maddox, court records said.
The man and his former girlfriend got into an argument in the street outside. Ms. Maddox and the former girlfriend began kicking and denting Davenport's new Hyundai car, said Assistant State's Attorney David Chiu.
It was then that Davenport grabbed a knife from the kitchen and ran outside. Ms. Maddox confronted her and a fight ensued.
Jack Rubin, Davenport's attorney, said Davenport took the knifeout to try to scare off the two women, who he said were abusing her friend and vandalizing her car.
"She did not go out there intending to kill anyone. She went out there in the heat of emotion to try to protect her prized possession" -- her car, Mr. Rubin said.
Ms. Maddox, who was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 172 pounds, was much larger than Davenport, who is about 5 feet tall and has a small frame. Mr. Rubin said Davenport was at a particular disadvantage with the larger woman, and, in a moment of panic, he said, she used the knife.