AUGUST 07, 2007
In a bizarre move that has caused outrage in legal circles, a Maryland county’s top District Court judge granted a man accused of murdering his two sons “compassionate leave” to attend the dead brothers’ private viewing.
The Silver Spring man, Thurmon Herring, is charged with fatally shooting his two sons – ages 18 and 20–last week as they slept. He subsequently tried to set the family’s house on fire and hours later called 911 and told an emergency dispatcher what he had done.
Charged with two counts of first-degree murder, Herring is being held without bond and prosecutors are furious that Montgomery County District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe didn’t bother holding a hearing on the defense’s request to grant the accused double-murderer compassionate leave to attend the funeral.
Instead, Judge Wolfe, a former public defender assigned last year to head Montgomery County’s District 6, arranged a private viewing for the accused murderer with the funeral home. Herring was escorted by several sheriff deputies and the funeral home visit lasted about 10 minutes.
It is extremely rare for a judge to allow a prisoner to attend the viewing of a victim the prisoner is accused of killing, especially without first holding an official court hearing to allow prosecutors to weigh in.
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