Man ignores lawyer, pleads guilty to theft


A Sykesville man went against the advice of his lawyer and pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing a gold necklace from a man sitting on a wall near the Westminster city playground in September.

Marlowe Rudolph Woodyard, 20, of the 7200 block of Springfield Ave., was convicted of the theft.

Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. suspended the 18-month sentence to the Department of Corrections he had given Woodyard, and placed the man on three years' unsupervised probation.

Assistant State's Attorney Kathryn Brewer Poole, who will be working in Carroll for six weeks, agreed to drop the remaining assault and robbery charges.

Martha Sitterding, a public defender, stated for the record that she did not agree with her client's plea, through which he waived his rights to a jury trial and severely limited his chances of appealing Judge Burns' decision.

Ms. Sitterding did not say what she had advised her client to do.

On Sept. 26, Christopher B. Harbaugh was sitting on the wall at the city park entrance at 17th and Broadway streets, according to court documents.

A man "dressed in all green sweats" -- later identified as Woodyard -- approached Mr. Harbaugh and asked if the 18-inch, 14-karat rope chain he was wearing was real gold, Ms. Poole read from the statement of facts.

Mr. Woodyard moved the chain around Mr. Harbaugh's neck to find the clasp, Ms. Poole said.

When Mr. Harbaugh removed the chain to give Mr. Woodyard a closer look, the defendant "snatched it, looked at it and then stuck it down his pants," according to court documents.

Woodyard started to say someone else had the chain and then left the area, Ms. Poole said.

Police later found Woodyard at the corner of Court and George streets, wearing the necklace.

Ms. Sitterding could not be reached for comment after the trial.

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