A Silver Spring man who pleaded guilty to killing his roommate, but later claimed the victim was alive, was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison for what the judge called his "callous" dumping of the body in a trash bin.

Kalvin A. Stafford, 33, was charged with the Oct. 2, 1989, strangulation of Anita F. Bowling, 28, after an argument over money at an apartment they shared. According to court documents, Stafford disposed of Bowling's body in a dumpster in Columbia. Her body has never been found, and authorities said they believe it was burned in an incinerator in Baltimore.

Yesterday, Circuit Court Judge William Miller ruled that Bowling's death was not premeditated, but said Stafford's actions after the slaying were disturbing.

"The killing shows the callous cold-bloodedness of taking a body and dumping the body in the trash," said Miller. Stafford's actions "denied {the Bowling} family the opportunity for a decent burial," he said.

Before the sentencing, Stafford, a former computer programmer with the federal government, apologized for "bad judgment" in attempting to cover up the slaying. "Words cannot begin to describe how terrible this has left me feeling. It was not my intent to harm or injure anyone."

Prosecutor Teresa Whalen asked Miller to sentence Stafford to the maximum 30-year term for his second-degree murder conviction. "He took several steps that showed a diabolical mind," she said. "He had no feeling for those involved."

But Stafford's attorney, Francine Tayor, citing her client's exemplary military record and willingness to help friends and relatives, asked for a sentence less than the maximum.

Tayor said Stafford was under extreme personal and financial stress at the time of the slaying. "He wanted his privacy and his life set up the way he was comfortable."

The victim's mother, Mattie Burnside, who attended the sentencing, said afterward that she still grieves for her youngest daughter. "He just treated my baby like she was trash," she said. "I don't have a grave to visit. I don't have anything."

Earlier this summer, Stafford said authorities had received a letter stating that Bowling was still alive. Miller denied Stafford's request to withdraw his guilty plea.