Md. man acquitted of 2 slayings gets 23 years for carjacking

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 24, 2009

A 20-year-old Landover man who in recent years has been acquitted of two slayings -- and is awaiting trial in a third homicide -- was sentenced by a Prince George's County judge Friday to 23 years in prison for an armed carjacking.

Circuit Court Judge Beverly J. Woodard imposed the sentence, which is more than double the amount of time recommended by advisory state sentencing guidelines, on Jacob L. Brooks, who turned 20 this week.

During a sentencing hearing in the Upper Marlboro courthouse, Assistant State's Attorney Joseph C. Ruddy urged Woodard to send Brooks to prison for the maximum amount of time allowable under the law -- 33 years.

Ruddy recounted a slew of charges Brooks has faced during the past 18 months that for various reasons were dropped: attempted murder, assault and handgun violations. In addition, Ruddy said, Brooks is charged with two assaults in the county jail, one on a guard and one on an inmate.

"He is beyond rehabilitation," Ruddy said. "He is a danger inside the prison system and outside."

Brooks's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Janet Callis, asked for a sentence within the sentencing guidelines, which recommend a term of five to 10 years for the offenses of which Brooks was convicted: carjacking, auto theft and a handgun violation.

Callis said Woodard should not consider arrests that did not lead to convictions, and she called Brooks a "minor offender."

"A minor offender. Really?" Woodard said.

"Yes," Callis replied.

Given a chance to speak, Brooks said he apologized to carjacking victim Sylvia Alexander, "but I ain't never had anything to do with a carjacking."

"I ain't a bad guy, for real," Brooks said. "I'd appreciate it if you'd sentence me within the guidelines."

Woodard said she understood that Brooks said he has often been unjustly accused, but that "there's no way he's a minor offender.

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