A Waldorf man whose accomplice called their 1996 killing of a Gambrills teen-ager "the perfect murder" was sentenced yesterday to two consecutive life terms in prison without parole.
Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North said the killing of Joseph Aaron Demarest was "so over the top" that she believed it was the kind of planned, gruesome slaying that legislators had in mind when they enacted a no-parole measure.
Veterinary technician Stefan Tyson Bell, 26, was convicted last year of murdering Demarest because Bell did not want to pay Demarest a debt for about two pounds of marijuana.
Demarest vanished Sept. 3, 1996. The next day, Bell and his accomplice rode with Demarest's father, Mike, and directed him to the opposite end of the county from where the 17-year-old was killed.
Christopher Allen Bolen told police that Bell stabbed Demarest through the neck and beat him with a pole before stomping him into a grave they had dug. After covering Demarest with dirt, the pair heard him moaning as they walked away. Demarest's body was found in January last year.
Calling Bell "amoral," Assistant State's Attorney M. Virginia Miles said Bell went on to have a career, a marriage and a comfortable life "as if nothing had happened."
At yesterday's sentencing, the victim's family testified about the toll the crime exacted.
The Demarest family hired a private investigator, the victim's sister struggled with depression, and stress led the victim's parents to divorce. They said they remain haunted that the prize-winning teen-age artist was robbed of the joys that his killers experienced in the past seven years and that they sorely miss him.
"Don't insult my family by standing up here and saying how sorry you are - do you hear me?" Mike Demarest said to Bell.
Bell said he was troubled by the killing and tried to be a better person. He maintained, as he did at trial, that he only meant to rough up Demarest and blamed Bolen for the slaying.
His attorneys asked for a sentence no greater than the 55 years Bolen was given after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.