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Essex man given 40 years for fatally shooting a friend He insists he fired only in self-defense


An Essex man convicted of murdering a friend received a 40-year prison sentence yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, while continuing to insist that he shot in self-defense.

Glenn Tyrone Elliott, 24, of the 1400 block of Maple Ave. glared around the courtroom as he was led in for sentencing in the Oct. 7 shooting of Robert Leonard "Lenny" Simmons Jr. Elliott, tall, bald and wearing a bright blue running suit, swiveled constantly in his chair at the defense table as the attorneys, his grandparents, his mother and Mr. Simmons' mother addressed Judge Alfred L. Brennan.

His grandparents told Judge Brennan that they had lost two children to drugs and asked that their grandson be placed in a drug-treatment program. The grandfather, Armond Elliott, was the county's first black homicide detective, said police spokesman E. Jay Miller.

A jury convicted Elliott in April of second-degree murder and using a handgun. The maximum penalty for those crimes is a total of 50 years.

Judge Brennan said the 40-year sentence will run consecutively to the 20 years Elliott received this week for robbing and beating two cabdrivers in Essex in April 1992. One of the cabbies, a 58-year-old man who had been driving a taxi for 28 years, needed 15 stitches around his eye and is too terrified to work, a county prosecutor said.

Elliott pleaded guilty in those two cases, but testified that he shot Mr. Simmons in self-defense, after an argument at the East Roc Apartments on Rumelia Circle in Essex. Mr. Simmons, 21, lived in the 2400 block of Reisterstown Road in Baltimore.

During the trial, defense attorney Rodney M. Gaston tried to convince the jury that Mr. Simmons had gotten out of a car, was firing at Elliott and had previously threatened him with a gun. No such gun was found and all physical evidence placed Mr. Simmons inside the car, preparing to drive away, said Assistant State's Attorney Louis C. Carrico.

The prosecutor said the trouble arose when Mr. Simmons asked Elliott to stop pointing a .38-caliber revolver and harassing a mutual friend. Mr. Simmons then stared down Elliott in front of his friends.

"Lenny was killed because he 'disrespected' or embarrassed the defendant in front of his friends," Mr. Carrico told Judge Brennan.

Elliott, who shot Mr. Simmons once in the hand and three times in the back, fled after the shooting but was arrested a month later in New York City, Mr. Carrico said.

Bernice Simmons struggled to tell the judge of "the tragedy that is my life now, trying to live without my son, my only child.

"I think Glenn shot him in cold blood," she said, looking over at Elliott. "If he were free, he'd threaten another friend. And what would he do to a stranger?"

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