A 22-year-old Annapolis man was sentenced in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday to a year on house arrest for acting as a lookout while his friends buried a man who died after they harassed him.
Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. also ordered Christian M. Walton to serve three years' probation, perform 520 hours of community service and to avoid alcohol for four years. The sentence allows Walton to work six days a week in the parts department at the Annapolis auto shop where he is employed.
Judge Heller said Walton's limited role in the July 1992 burial of Arch Baldwin, a 62-year-old Army veteran, and his lack of a criminal record were significant factors in deciding on the sentence.
"I truly don't believe that we will ever hear from you or see you in the criminal justice system again," Judge Heller told Walton, who pleaded guilty on May 5 to being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter.
Two co-defendants, Adam Schlossman and Theodore Reshetiloff, both 22 of Annapolis, were convicted of manslaughter March 2 by Judge Heller. They harassed Mr. Baldwin, poured beer and debris on him, pelted him with stones and urinated on him before pushing him into a wooded gully near Schlossman's house in the first block of Jefferson Place, according to trial testimony.
When Schlossman and Reshetiloff found Mr. Baldwin dead the next day, they waited until nightfall, then put his body on a sled, dragged it deep into the woods and buried it, according to testimony. Willis Lewin Usilton, 22, of Easton, allegedly helped bury Mr. Baldwin, while Walton served as a lookout.
The body was found April 6, 1993, after an acquaintance reported the incident to Annapolis police. An autopsy determined that Mr. Baldwin died of a heart attack brought on by the assault.
Mr. Baldwin's widow, Ruby Baldwin, and his four children have filed a $30 million wrongful-death suit against the defendants in Anne Arundel Circuit Court. No trial date has been set.
Walton declined to comment yesterday. His lawyer, James P. Nolan, said his client had no part in the assault and served as a lookout "for about five minutes" after refusing to take part in the actual burial.
"I think it was peer pressure more than anything else," Mr. Nolan said.
Schlossman and Reshetiloff were sentenced May 4 and are serving 18-month terms, along with five years' supervised probation.
Mr. Usilton had tentatively agreed to plead guilty to the same accessory charge as Walton with an agreement that he serve at most six months in jail. That deal fell through after Judge Heller said he would sentence Mr. Usilton to a year under house arrest plus six months in jail if he convicted him.
Mr. Usilton's lawyer, Joel L. Katz, said yesterday that his client will go to trial unless prosecutors can find another Circuit Court judge to accept the plea agreement with the six-month limit on jail time.
"It gets to be a matter of principle," Mr. Katz said. "If you act in good faith, one would expect the court to go along with what the parties had agreed on."