The state's second-highest court vacated the attempted second-degree murder conviction of a Taneytown carpenter serving 20 years in prison for trying to kill his former girlfriend when he sneaked into her house with a loaded gun.
The Court of Special Appeals, in an opinion released yesterday, left intact the conviction for assault with intent to murder against William Richard Bollinger. The decision leaves Bollinger's sentence unchanged because he was serving simultaneous 20-year sentences, one for each crime.
Bollinger, 50, could have been sentenced to 50 years for attempted second-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and burglary after his 1994 convictions.
But in September 1994, Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. set aside the burglary conviction and imposed concurrent 30-year terms for the remaining convictions. He suspended all but 20 years and placed Bollinger on five years of probation when he is released.
In his appeal, Bollinger argued that the conviction for attempted second-degree murder should have been merged into the one for assault with intent to murder. And, since the attorney general's office -- which argues appeals for the state's attorney -- didn't disagree, the court ruled that Bollinger's assertion was correct.
A three-judge panel of the appellate court turned down Bollinger's request for a new trial, however, saying his claim that Judge Beck incorrectly instructed the trial jury was without merit. The court also said Judge Beck did not overstep his authority when he refused to allow Bollinger's daughter to testify as a character witness.
A Carroll jury deliberated for nine hours over two days before returning its verdict on June 9, 1994. The jury acquitted Bollinger of the most serious charge, attempted first-degree murder, which could have resulted in a sentence of life in prison.
Bollinger did not dispute that he entered the Keymar home of Faye Virginia Glass, 34, the morning of Oct. 20. He admitted grabbing a loaded .38-caliber revolver from his toolbox before heading to Ms. Glass' bedroom, where she was napping.
He testified that the gun, which he said he had never used before, was meant to make her explain why she had broken off their tumultuous relationship two weeks earlier.
Ms. Glass was shot once in the chest, according to testimony. She was hospitalized for a month at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.