Because he brutally raped and sodomized a 15-year-old Halethorpe girl before she was strangled, Jerome Page received life without parole yesterday, plus two consecutive life terms for his role in the murder.
Baltimore County Circuit Judge Barbara Kerr Howe told Page, 35, she intended that he "never be released" from prison.
Before being sentenced, Page, a small man who lived near the victim with his mother and twin brother in the 2100 block of Monumental Ave., mumbled: "I'm sorry that it happened, you know, but, you know, I can't bring her back, but, uh, I'm sorry."
Amanda Lee Hall, a Lansdowne High School student who lived in the 2000 block of Putnam Ave., ran away from home June 1 after a dispute over a boyfriend. On June 3, she prepared to sleep in the alcove outside the women's restroom at the neighborhood recreation center.
Witnesses said Page or his brother, Tyrone, asked about the girl and that Tyrone later said he hoped to win sex with her by bringing her hot chocolate from the neighborhood convenience store. At least four people testified that they had been worried about Amanda.
The following day, June 4, Amanda's half-nude, bruised body ZTC was found wrapped in a blanket on an overgrown road.
Assistant Public Defender Gerald W. Vahle, who said Page tested at only a second-grade education level, asked Judge Howe to leave open the chance for parole.
"It's unlikely he'd ever be paroled, but perhaps a little pin-light at the end of the tunnel would be helpful," Mr. Vahle said.
Assistant State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger asked for life without parole, saying Page "is an evil individual [who] doesn't deserve to breathe free air again."
He noted Page's record: a 1975 assault conviction and three-year prison sentence for his part in the gang rape of a kidnapped Columbia-area woman, and a 1978 second-degree murder conviction and 25-year prison sentence for stabbing a man in the neck with a fork during an argument. While on parole, Page was arrested in 1991 on drug possession charges.
Unfortunately for Amanda, Mr. Shellenberger said, at the time of the murder, police had an arrest warrant for Page but hadn't found him. He was wanted for the robbery of a convenience store. After his arrest for the Hall murder, Page was convicted of the robbery and sentenced to 35 years.
Homicide detectives linked a Royal Farms coffee cup and food wrapper, a needle cap and cigarette butts found outside the restroom to the brothers. Jerome Page was directly linked to the case by 15 of his pubic hairs recovered from the murder scene.
The FBI's chief hair-and-fiber expert testified that he could distinguish between the twins' hairs -- despite their identical genetic makeup -- because Jerome's hairs had unique microscopic air pockets.