A Baltimore man was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder in the shooting death of a Cooksville resident last May at a party in western Howard County.

Jeffrey L. Fowlkes, 23, who was sentenced by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr., also was given 20 years for each of two counts of assault with intent to murder and 15 years for handgun violations. Those sentences will run concurrently with his murder term.

Fowlkes, a former Army specialist who was discharged Monday, showed no emotion as Kane read the sentence, but his mother and grandmother sobbed. Fowlkes's attorney, Richard Winelander, said he will appeal the convictions.

"Judge Kane always renders a well-reasoned sentence," said prosecutor Kate O'Donnell, "and this one is no exception."

Fowlkes was convicted in November of killing Joseph Tyrone Taylor, 21, of Cooksville, who was shot in the back at a large outdoor birthday party in the 13100 block of Triadelphia Road in Glenelg on May 20.

Fowlkes also was convicted of wounding two other partygoers, William E. Shird Jr. and Ronald E. Miles Jr.

During the 11-day trial, defense witnesses portrayed Fowlkes as a peacemaker who fired his 9 mm semiautomatic handgun in an attempt to break up a fight.

Fowlkes testified that he was drunk and knew he was "shooting kind of low," but maintained that he did not intend to kill anyone.

Prosecution witnesses contradicted Fowlkes, testifying that he did not appear drunk and that he fired into the crowd of 200 as others cried, "Spray these country {expletive}," and "Crank that {expletive} over here."

O'Donnell depicted Fowlkes and friends who accompanied him to the party as intruders who were bent on starting trouble.

Just before Kane read the sentence yesterday, Fowlkes insisted again that the shootings were an accident. "I was trying to prevent something negative," Fowlkes said, his voice shaking. "I had no intention of killing anybody. I'm sorry for the tragedy that happened."

Winelander asked Kane to consider that Fowlkes had no criminal history prior to these convictions.

"I have spent many sleepless nights wondering what happened that night to a kid who everyone said was a hard-working, conscientious, non-drug-using, non-drinking member of the military," the defense attorney said. "He has tried to do the right things."

O'Donnell asked Kane to mete out a punishment that would be "no better, no worse" than a term given to anyone convicted of similar crimes. She reminded the judge that Taylor's family "is relying on you to render a fair sentence."

Angel Cook, who was Taylor's fiance'e, attended the sentencing and said she was pleased with it.

Fowlkes "did something wrong, and he has to pay for it," said Cook, 19. "I know he's really sorry for it. I know if he had to do it all over again, he probably wouldn't have even gone to the party."

She said she harbors no ill will toward Fowlkes, although "I feel the pain every day. I lost somebody dear. And all the apologies won't bring him back.

"I have forgiven," she said, "but I can't forget."