Inmate gets 7 1/2 -year term for stabbing at detention center


A Laurel man convicted of manslaughter in 1992 was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison yesterday for stabbing an inmate at the Howard County Detention Center seven times during a fight in January.

Matthew Lee Garvey, 20, was given the sentence in Howard Circuit Court after pleading guilty before Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr. to assault with intent to maim. He could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the Jan. 13 incident.

Judge Sybert also ordered Garvey to complete five years of supervised probation upon his release from prison. Garvey must serve about 20 months of the prison term before he will be eligible for parole, according to state guidelines.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Murtha asked Judge Sybert to sentence Garvey to 10 years in prison. He cited Garvey's 1992 conviction for the stabbing death of his mother's boyfriend as the reason for the stiff sentence.

"He is just another homicide waiting to happen," Mr. Murtha said.

But Assistant Public Defender Jane McGough asked for a lenient sentence, saying Garvey has had trouble dealing with his anger since he had most of his left leg amputated after an on-the-job accident at a car wash when he was 13 years old.

In the stabbing incident, Garvey attacked Kenneth Brian Daff with a knife that had a five-inch blade as Daff was leaving a religious service at the detention center.

Daff, 23, serving a sentence for a robbery and carjacking, was stabbed four times in his back and once each in his face, neck and shoulder. He was treated at Howard County General Hospital.

Ms. McGough, noting that Daff is taller and heavier than Garvey, said the stabbing was not the first altercation between the men.

"These were two people who were at each other and at each other," the attorney said. "They should have been separated."

The incident occurred while Garvey was awaiting trial on charges for an accident last July in which he struck a pedestrian while leaving a party in Clarksville.

In May, Garvey was given an 18 month sentence for battery and driving while intoxicated for the incident. He was permitted to serve the sentence simultaneously with the sentences in his other cases.

The Clarksville accident happened about one month after Garvey was paroled from the state Department of Corrections after serving almost two years of a four-year term for voluntary manslaughter. He was initially sentenced to eight years in prison, but half of the term was suspended.

Garvey had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in January 1992 for killing his mother's live-in boyfriend. He was charged with stabbing John Neil Robinson, 30, once in the chest with a kitchen knife after the man attacked him with an ax handle during an argument in July 1991, court records show.

After yesterday's sentencing, Garvey appeared before Judge Dennis Sweeney for violating the terms of the probation for his manslaughter conviction.

Judge Sweeney ordered Garvey to serve the remaining four years of the eight-year sentence, but permitted Garvey to serve the term simultaneously with the 7 1/2 -year sentence for the stabbing incident.

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