- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 27, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Noble [-] Anna Sowers, for her extraordinary efforts to honor the memory of her late husband who was beaten to death outside his Baltimore home by young thugs.. On June 1, 2007, Zach Sowers, 27, a part-time graduate student, was walking to his home in Baltimore’s Patterson Park neighborhood. After meeting friends at a nearby bar, he was accosted by Travyon Ramos, 16, who knocked him unconscious.

Ramos then stomped him while four accomplices waited nearby. Meanwhile, Zach’s wife Anna, visiting friends in Chicago, knew something was wrong when she could not reach her husband on his cellphone. Anna flew back to Baltimore and found Zach at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Zach Sowers never recovered from the brutal beating and succumbed to his injuries on March 25. But before Zach died, Baltimore prosecutors cut a deal with the hoodlums who robbed and beat him: Martin, Jeter and Price agreed to testify against Ramos. They received 30-year prison sentences, with all but eight years suspended (meaning they become eligible four parole in four years). Ramos pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder and robbery and received 40 years in prison, making him eligible for parole in 20 years.

Anna Sowers believes these sentences are woefully inadequate for the perpetrators of such a horrible crime, and she is absolutely right. Anna is lobbying the Maryland General Assembly to toughen penalties on criminals who leave their victims in permanent vegetative states, something that can be tantamount to a death sentence. She has spent much of the past year raising money to pay Zach’s medical bills. For her courage and dignity in the face of a horrible personal tragedy, Anna Sowers is the Noble of the Week.

Knave [-] Former Prince George’s County public schools chief Andre Hornsby, who faces up to 90 years in prison after being convicted Wednesday in federal court of fraud, evidence tampering and obstruction of justice charges.

Hornsby came to Upper Marlboro five years ago with a mandate to turn around P.G. County schools, but he appears to have been more interested in enriching himself. Hornsby was shown on videotape pocketing what prosecutors said was a deposit of an illicit $145,000 payoff from a consultant; Hornsby had arranged a consulting contract for her with the county schools. For violating the public trust, Andre Hornsby is the Knave of the Week.

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