William C. Rindgo stood before the court yesterday to be sentenced for murder, rape, robbery and breaking out of prison, and told the judge how religion had come into his life.
"Christ teaches me I have a way to go" he told Judge Eugene N. Hamilton of D.C. Superior Court. "I thank God that I have a higher judge than you, a judge that I pray to, even for you."
"Despite what the jury said, I'm not guilty of murdering Miss Barbara Meyersburg. I'm not guilty of murdering anybody."
Rindgo, 39, was convicted of murdering, raping and robbing Miss Meyersburg by a jury on March 2. The body of Miss Meyersburg, 24M was found outside broadcast station WTOP on Jan. 8, 1974. At that time, the jury also found, Rindgo had escaped from a halfway house where he was serving a sentence for armed robbery.
William Shannon, Rindgo's attorney, told Judge Hamilton he believed his clients's religious conversion was sincere.
"I know your honor has heard this before," Shannon said, "but I've seen it. He could nto be faking it, he could not be snowing people."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Kogan told the judge: "This defendant must never be permitted to step out on the streets of Washington again."
He said probation officers had reported in 1974 that Rindgo was a psychopath and that he was "totally incapable" of remaining out of trouble unless he was in prison.
Kogan asked Hamilton to make the sentences he was about to pronounce run consecutively, so that Rindgo would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Shannon asked that the judge give the minimum allowed by law. This would be 20 years to life for murder, which is prescribed by law, plus a maximum of five years for "prison breach," the technical term for escaping, and for the additional sentence the law allows when a defendant is convicted of a crime committed while he is awaiting trial for other offenses.
If the judge followed this course, Shannon said, Rindgo would be 64 when he first became eligible for parole. Parole officers could decide then whether he still posed a threat to society, he said.
Judge Hamilton then pronounced sentence: 20 years to life for murder, 10 to 30 years for rape, a suspended sentence for robbery, and 20 months to 5 years for prison breach, this to run concurrent with 20 months to 5 years for commiting a crime while awaiting trial for another offense. This means Rindgo's minimum sentence is 31 years and 8 months.