In a self-proclaimed fight for his innocence, Abras S. Q. "Sandy" Morrison asked a three-judge panel in Carroll County to remove the term "without parole" from his life sentence for first-degree murder.
"I'm not asking for you to open the door and let me out of prison," he told the panel yesterday. "It's not time for that. I'm just asking for a chance to go on with my schooling to better myself and the other inmates."
The judges are expected to issue a decision on Morrison's request within 30 days, said Assistant State's Attorney Edward Ulsch.
Morrison, 21, was convicted in August 1992 for the murder of 74-year-old Margaret Cullen in a Hampstead cornfield after he and Troy D. Shellington kidnapped her from her North Baltimore home.
Mrs. Cullen's beaten, stabbed and decomposed body was found off Route 30 on Aug. 25, 1991, by Baltimore homicide detectives. Morrison had worked for her as a nurse's aide.
His sentence includes a concurrent life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder, 20 years for kidnapping and five years for robbery. It prevents him from participating in self-improvement programs at the Maryland Penitentiary, Public Defender Barbara Kreinar told the court.
"I think the court can figure out a way to balance society's interests with Mr. Morrison's and give him some small hope that, when he is a very old man, he might be released," Ms. Kreinar said.