by Dale Chappell
Two former Baltimore police officers sentenced to a combined 454 years in federal prison had their sentences reduced to just 20 years each in May after their sentencing judge agreed that the First Step Act authorized a reduced sentence in light of their stacked gun sentences.
William King and Antonio Murray were convicted in 2006 of several robbery, extortion, drug, and firearm crimes after they were busted detaining and robbing local drug dealers in Baltimore's public housing areas. At the time, the sentencing judge lamented having to hand them the stacked firearm sentences, calling it "absolutely disproportionate to the crime." But the sentences were mandatory because of the way federal prosecutors had charged the officers, which tied the judge's hands.
While federal prosecutors agreed that the sentences should be reduced, they requested 30 years for Murray and 65 years for King. The judge disagreed.
The judge said that the sentences if imposed today would have been much lower without the stacking. Agreeing to the requested 20 year-sentences for King and Murray, the judge said that it "roughly corresponds with the type of sentences presently imposed in comparable police-corruption cases in the District." The former officers will be heading to halfway houses soon, their lawyer said.
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