- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

The government of Maryland has agreed to pay $700,000 to the family of Peyton Tuthill, a 24-year-old Colorado woman raped and murdered three years ago by a Maryland convict. Miss Tuthill was killed in February 1999 by Donta Paige, a 24-year-old armed robber from Prince George's County who was sprung from jail four months earlier by a Prince George's County judge who sent him to a drug-treatment program in Colorado.
The facts of the case are this: After Paige had served just two years of a 10-year sentence, Prince George's County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Casula ordered him released from prison and sent to a drug-treatment center in Denver. Despite the fact that Maryland is part of an agreement requiring that it notify other states when paroled felons like Paige are shuttled across state lines, it failed do so. Neither Mr. Casula (who thankfully has retired from the bench) nor anyone representing Maryland's correctional system or parole/probation authorities bothered to notify Colorado that Paige was coming. After four months of "treatment" at the Denver facility, Paige was expelled from the program. One day later, he raped and murdered Miss Tuthill while burglarizing her home, which was located down the street from the treatment center. Gov. Parris Glendening subsequently wrote a letter of apology to Colorado Gov. Bill Owens.
Perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of the situation were the efforts by Maryland officials to disclaim responsibility for the crime; at one point, some asserted that they weren't required to notify Colorado because Paige wasn't a parolee: He was freed by a judge, not a parole board. On the other hand, the state's chief judge, Robert Bell, suggested that prison authorities, not Mr. Casula, should have told Colorado about Paige. Overlooked is the common-sense reality that Donta Paige should never have been released to begin with.


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