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Man gets 5 years for assaulting wife


Calling him "a threat" to his wife, an Anne Arundel circuit judge sentenced a Laurel man to five years in prison yesterday for forcing a shotgun into his wife's mouth during a domestic quarrel.

Robert John Hall, 32, of the first block of Welch's Court pleaded guilty March 13 to assault and battery and reckless endangerment. Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. sentenced him to five years on each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently.

Judge Thieme expressed concern that the couple might eventually reconcile.

"The history of the relationship indicates the two will get back together," Judge Thieme said after learning that the couple had been separated before.

Then, speaking to Hall before he sentenced him, Judge Thieme said, "Chances are if you go back with her, you'll eventually kill her."

Hall attacked his wife, 34-year-old Linda Crowel, when she came home from a friend's house in the early morning hours of July 10.

Ms. Crowel testified that her husband beat her, forced his shotgun into her mouth several times and threatened to kill her before she called police.

Originally charged with assault with intent to murder, he has been held on $350,000 bail at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center since the incident.

"We are pleased with the verdict," said Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris. "The victim was also pleased. [She] can now have a period of solitude and peace of mind."

Pamela L. North, Hall's attorney, had hoped Judge Thieme would agree to send her client to an alcohol rehabilitation program at Perry Point Veterans Hospital in Harford County.

"I think it was a very harsh sentence," Ms. North said, adding she still hopes Judge Thieme will send Hall to the program when she asks for a sentence reduction in July.

The program requires that those enrolled spend 28 days as an inpatient and at least a year getting outpatient treatment.

Ms. North conceded that Hall's act was vicious but said she didn't like Ms. Crowel's behavior afterward.

"She told him she wanted him out of jail and in rehab," Ms. North said. "She told the state she wants him in jail as long as possible. I thought she was playing a little game."

Although she told prosecutors she was afraid of her husband, Ms. Crowel visited him weekly, Ms. North noted.

Ms. Crowel said she went to see her husband, against the advice of prosecutors.

"We had to sell our trailer, so I had to see him to get that straightened out," she said.

But Ms. Crowel denied ever telling her husband she wanted him out of jail.

"When he brought up the subject of going to a halfway house, I told him, 'Halfway house means you're halfway to my house,' " Ms. Crowel said.

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