Judges uphold life sentence for man who stabbed woman in Hampstead


A panel of Carroll County judges has refused to change the sentence of life without parole imposed on Abras Q. "Sandy" Morrison, the Baltimore County man convicted of killing a North Baltimore woman in a Hampstead cornfield two years ago.

Filed yesterday, the decision of Circuit Judges Luke K. Burns Jr. and Raymond E. Beck Sr. and District Judge JoAnn Ellinghaus-Jones said Morrison's crime "demanded the foreclosure of any possibility that [he] might sometime return to society."

Morrison, 21, was convicted in 1992 of first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy in the fatal stabbing of Margaret Cullen, 74, whose beaten and stabbed body was found off Route 30 Aug. 25 1991. Morrison had been Mrs. Cullen's nursing aide.

Judge Francis M. Arnold sentenced Morrison to life without parole and rejected his plea for a life term with the possibility of parole.

Morrison asked the three-judge panel Nov. 4 for a lesser sentence so he could take college classes.

"I am not asking for you to open the door and let me out of prison," he said then. "It's not time for that. I'm just asking for a chance to go on with my schooling to better myself and other inmates."

The judges weren't moved.

"While the defendant's current ambition for receiving a college education is laudable, it is inconsistent with the purpose of the sentence in this case, given the magnitude and severity of the crimes for which the defendant stands convicted," the judges wrote in their decision.

Morrison has maintained his innocence, despite incriminating statements he made to Baltimore homicide detectives shortly after Mrs. Cullen's body was found.

On Monday, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals rejected his appeal and upheld his conviction.

It was not clear yesterday whether he would take the case to the Maryland Court of Appeals.

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