Victim in wheelchair, apologetic shooter gets 13 years


A Shady Side man was sentenced in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday to 13 years in prison for a shooting last fall that left his victim in a wheelchair, partially paralyzed and able to speak only a few words.

During yesterday's sentencing hearing, Daniel R. Brown, 18, of the 5200 block of Nick Road said he "didn't mean to hurt anyone."

"It was an accident," he said, his voice barely a whisper in the cavernous courtroom, "and I'd like to apologize to the family."

About two rows behind him, David Green, 29, of Galesville sat in the wheelchair he has needed ever since Brown shot him in the head Oct. 29, 1993.

"I don't think [the 13-year sentence] is enough, but we're satisfied," Stacy McNew, Mr. Green's fiancee, said afterward as she pushed him in his wheelchair toward a courthouse exit.

Brown, who clerked at a McDonald's restaurant the past two years, entered an Alford plea to attempted murder and handgun charges on May 5. The plea meant that Brown did not admit guilt, but acknowledged that the state had enough evidence to convict him had the case gone to trial.

Mr. Green, a refrigeration mechanic, had just finished his workday last October when he and a friend decided to go to a neighborhood to buy some drugs, said Assistant State's Attorney Fred Paone

They drove to a wooded area along Nick Road in Shady Side, where they knew a drug dealer who would sell them $50 worth of crack cocaine, said Mr. Paone. When they arrived about 8 p.m., a man told them to drive around a block of the rural, wooded community two times.

After circling the block twice, they were told to drive down a dead-end street.

At that point, Mr. Green's friend saw Brown approaching, a pillowcase over his head. The friend sped off, Mr. Paone said.

Brown fired two shots; one hit Mr. Green in the back of the head. His friend stopped at a nearby house, where police were called.

The victims identified Brown, who was arrested at his home the following morning. He gave police the 9 mm semiautomatic pistol used in the shooting, Mr. Paone said.

Rico C. Smith, 23, who allegedly directed Mr. Green and his friend down the dead-end road, is tentatively scheduled to be tried tomorrow on attempted-murder and handgun charges. Mr. Smith lives in the 5200 block of Nick Road in Shady Side.

The shooting has left Mr. Green virtually without speech, able to walk only a few steps and unable to use the right side of his body, his father and fiancee said after yesterday's hearing.

William Green Sr. e said no one has ever proved that his son intended to buy drugs. His son may have been along for the ride, but either way, that does not make the crime any less serious, he said.

"What he was doing that night had nothing to do with any gun. And the judge must have felt the same way," Mr. Green said.

In a written statement, Ms. McNew said the shooting has turned her life and her fiance's life "into a nightmare that seems to be never-ending."

"The simplest things that we all take for granted have become difficult challenges for David. Just to sit down and eat a meal is a battle. To take a shower. To walk into another room," she wrote.

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