Cumberland Evening Times from Cumberland, Maryland on November 15, 1955 · Page 12
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Cumberland Evening Times from Cumberland, Maryland · Page 12

Cumberland, Maryland
Issue Date:
Tuesday, November 15, 1955
Page 12
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TWELVE EVENING TIMES, CUMBERLAND. MD. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1955 Slayer's Death Sentence -• v ' Commuted To Life Term ' BALTIMORE W) — The deatl: sentence of Eugene E. Bryant, n- year-old Korean War veteran convicted of slaying .his 17-year-old girl friend; was • commuted to life imprisonment yesterday by Gov McKeldin. In a lengthy cited testimony brief, about fective mental condition" of Bryant as the chief reason for commutation. The governor's order came just three days and seven hours before Bryant was scheduled to be hanged for the murder of Joan Marie Ruz za of Capitol Heights, Md. It was the ninth commutation in 12 cases of capital punishment since McKeldin took office in 1951. : : -Miss Ruzza was found dead April 8,^1954 in an alley four blocks from fjer home in the Washington sub- iifb. •"'It was testified at the trial Bry- aht had been dating her despite her parents' objections and that ^hte was pregnant. ^''Bryant, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bainbridge Bryant, were neighbors of the Ruzza's, had balsed his defense on the plea he . was insane and suffering from amnesia at the time of the killing. i-.-His parents testified-he suffered head injuries several times in various accidents, and was discharged from the Army as an undesirable because of mental unbalance. • . . K-After" a jury rejected-the insanity; plea and returned a guilty verdict without recommendation of rprcy, the late Judge Janies Clark imposed the death penalty for wKat he termed a "cruel and brutal" crime. There'wa's. rib doubt in filsmind, he said, that Bryant was mentally responsible. , • /: ?~The governor said: "While the evidence in the case is probably sufficient to support a first degree murder verdict — a question no raised on appeal'— it is also sus ceptible of a lesser finding o guilt." "The fact that the evidence tends to support alternate conclusions as to-the degree of guilt is not suf McKeldin ficient to justify the substitution 01 the "de- my judgment for that of the jury However, I do feel that the close ness of the question is an tiemenl for consideration in determining the appropriate punishment for the crime." McKeldin noted testimony by Dr Manfred S. Gutmacher, chief psychologist for the^ Supreme Bench of Baltimore, who said the defendant developed a "retrograde am- icsia" after an auto accident. Gutmacher said Bryant sustained severe head injury. The governor said two psyphi- atrists who testified for the State hat Bryant knew right from ivrong.did not have an opportunity to hear all the evidence about the youth's prior mental disturbances because the rule . that witnesses must be excluded from the court room while other witnesses are testifying. . . ' Gutmacher said that it was "extremely difficult" to 'determine the extent of Bryant's ability to distinguish right from wrong,/but that he had sufficient' capacity to meet Maryland's "r i g h t from wrong" test' for legal sanity. A penitentiary, psychiatrist reported ' Bryant's mental condition was substantially similar to that of Charles Lowery, whose death sentence was commuted in July, 1953, following a precedent set in an earlier case. by Gov. Ritchie. McKeldin .included ,in^ his brief a repetition of a call for legislation which would provide for judicial review of criminal .sentences, at. .least in : the most serious cases. ''.'.'" 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Cha<Ttb»f — Insures long life — greolest efficiency. ^ One-Piece Cast Iron Burner Provides perfect combustion — maximum heot. . if Robertsh>wThermost»t'-Auio- molkally moinlains constant room temperatures. Set it and forget h. if Automatic Saftjy Piiot*- Assures positive control of gas to main burner and pilot light. rAGA Approved-Complies with oil national safety requirements. Fully approved by American Gas Association. * Extra accessory. Republican State Committee Plans Meeting Tonight A meeting of the Republican State Central Committee of Allegany County will _be f held at the office of James S. Getty, chairman, today at 7:30 p. m. Representatives of the Repub lican Women's Club .of Cumberland and the Frostburg Republican Women's Club have been invited to attend this special session, Getty said. / discussion is planned for the Allegany County "Thank You, Mr. President" campaign which opens today under the sponsorship ~of the women's groups. Legion Plans Meeting Knobley Mountain Post 136, American Legion, will meet today al 8 p.m. at the Post Home. Refreshments will be served.. McKeldin Says GOP Can Lose Unless Eisenhower Or Counterpart In Race BALTIMORE tf) — Gov. McKel din told Republicans today they could lose the 1956 presidential election unless, they renominate President Eisenhower or pick a man "schooled in the Eisenhower philosophy." , '.'..''We want Dwight- Eisenhower to run," the Maryland governor said in a speech prepared for delivery to a GOP women's gathering here, "but we.need not despair if he doesn't." McKeldin. who nominated Eisenhower in the 1953 GOP national convention, said lasf .week's elections in various parts of the ria- iion proved' only • "that the- American, people make up their own minds." • " • Republicans musMearri two lessons from those elections, he said. "We must nominate candidates in whom the voters will have confidence; and we-must state the issues clearly.-" Then MciCeldin .added: "We could lose the presidential election next year. . • "If President Eisenhower, in his wisdom and that of his doctors, decides to run, his victory is a foregone conclusion. s . "But we could lose the election if we were foolish enough to nominate' a mere Republican .counterpart of the man whom the opposition-.will name. - '.•• '. • "We .could lose if we were to nominate" a man whose thinking is rooted entirely in the past — a man who refuses to recognize change — a man who thinks we are protected against aggression by the oceans that flank cur shores —a man who thinks we can live within ourselves, apart from the troubled world. •' • "But we will not, I am sure, be that foolish. 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