- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A St. Mary’s County judge sentenced Joanna Joyce Findlay to five years in prison Tuesday in connection with the attempted murder of her husband in 2010 at their Hollywood home.
Findlay, 41, faced murder charges after police discovered her husband, Gary Alan Trogdon, dead of a gunshot wound Oct. 30, 2010, at the couple’s Hollywood home. Jurors last November found her not guilty of murder, but did convict her of second-degree attempted murder and a handgun violation.
Circuit Judge Karen Abrams said Tuesday that she did not want to impose a long sentence because the jury did not find Findlay guilty of killing her husband. Abrams imposed a sentence of five years without parole, the minimum required by law, for use of a handgun in commission of a felony or violent crime.
Abrams suspended and additional five-year sentence for the second-degree attempted murder charge.
Findlay faced up to 50 years in prison; the attempted murder charge carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and the handgun charge carried a minimum five years without parole and a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Findlay, a native of Scotland, worked as a writing instructor at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Trogdon, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, was a military historian for the Department of the Army and a college professor.
State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz (R) said the attempted murder charge carries the same suggested penalties as a murder charge and asked that Findlay be sentenced to the full 50 years.
“The only difference is the individual missed their mark,” he said of an attempted murder charge. “On that particular evening, she intended to kill Mr. Trogdon.”
Abrams disagreed, saying during the sentencing that because both Trogdon and Findlay were well trained in shooting firearms and based on evidence including a bullet recovered from the floor of the home, she did not feel Findlay tried to shoot her husband and missed. She said the jury must have concluded that instead Trogdon had committed suicide, as Findlay maintained throughout the trial.
John Ray, Findlay’s lawyer, asked for leniency based on the many letters “from all over the world” that were written in defense of Findlay’s character. He said that Findlay had no prior convictions.
Both of Findlay’s parents traveled from Scotland to speak in her defense at Tuesday’s sentencing, as did one friend from her job at College Park.
The case drew international news attention, especially in Scotland, where Findlay was born and holds citizenship. She has permanent resident status in the United States.