A Baltimore County judge has declined yesterday to sentence Wesley Allen Rollins to death. The Baltimore Sun reports that despite a jury’s verdict to the contrary, the judge found he did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Rollins murdered 71-year-old Irene Ebberts.
“If he could be charged and given the death penalty for being a horrible human being and a predator on society, I would do it in an instant,” Judge John F. Fader II said as he imposed a sentence of life without parole. The judge told the victim’s family: “I’m sorry.”
Fader said he suspects Rollins killed Ebberts but that strong testimony on both sides kept him from reaching any conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt. It was at least the third time this year that a Baltimore County judge has declined to issue a death sentence in a capital case. Statistics show a decline in the number of death sentences imposed in Maryland and nationwide.