Woman under house arrest


A Glen Burnie woman on probation for helping to clean a murder scene was placed on house arrest yesterday while the judge decides what to do about a probation violation involving continued drug use, her second such violation.

"I am trying to stay out of trouble," Corinne Catramados, 22, told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth. "I have changed so much in the past three years that it's unbelievable."

But a probation agent, E. Vicki Kozlowski, said that Catramados missed meetings with her, tested positive for drug use five times and is on her fourth drug program. She urged the judge to incarcerate Catramados and close the probation file.

Catramados is on five years' probation. An arrangement with prosecutors kept her out of jail in exchange for testimony against her former boyfriend and his friend in the February 2000 murder of Robert Hightower. She admitted to being an accessory after the fact and helping to clean up the scene of the crime, and received a suspended sentence of five years.

"The person sitting in front of you has continually violated the terms of the agreement made the first time she was in before you," said David Hightower, father of the victim, telling Silkworth he felt that the defendant has "shown disdain for your honor's words to her." Hightower called for the maximum sentence.

Deferring disposition of the case, Silkworth placed Catramados on house arrest through June 30, which allows her to resume drug counseling, and he ordered a new evaluation of her.

Assistant State's Attorney Frank J. Ragione declined to comment on the case.

Paul Harris Jr., Catramados' lawyer, told Silkworth that his client completed 19 weeks of a drug program before it closed and is making efforts with a new program. He said there is no indication that she has been using drugs since June. He said she stays home, taking care of her sick husband and a relative's children.

The outcome was of no consolation to Hightower.

"I want to see her punished," he said afterward. "She violated her probation, and they won't even enforce that. I don't know what to think about that."

Catramados' link to the killing of Robert Hightower, who police said was bludgeoned and strangled, and its aftermath was unclear. Prosecutors said that she gave varying accounts of the murder, at times saying the men plotted the crime in advance and at other times saying they acted in self-defense. At one point, Ragione said he wanted to void her sentencing agreement.

Shane Pardoe, Catramados' boyfriend at the time of the killing, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy and sentenced to serve 55 years of two life terms in the killing. In exchange for testifying against Pardoe, David Shepeta, who acknowleged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him but did not admit guilt, was sentenced to serve 15 years, with another 15 years suspended.

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