Elkridge Man Guilty On 3 Counts In Child Molestation Conviction Comes In 1987 Kidnapping Of Brooklyn Park Girl

December 02, 1990|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,Staff writer

A 35-year-old Elkridge man was found guilty yesterday of abducting and molesting a Brooklyn Park girl in 1987.

A Circuit Court jury deliberated for four hours Thursday and Friday before returning at 11 a.m. Friday to find Jeffrey Meredith Chaney guilty of kidnapping, assault and battery and a third-degree sex offense.

Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris said the verdicts carry a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison.

"Obviously I'm going to be asking that he go to jail for a very long time," Ferris said. "This is the second worst thing that can happen to a family. The only worse thing would be if the child died."

She said Chaney was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29 by Judge Bruce Williams. Chaney's bond was revoked and he is being held in the county Detention Center, she said.

Assistant public defender James McCarthy Jr. said he would appeal the verdicts after the sentencing.

He also said he would ask for a new trial, citing "considerable police investigation that has not been done."

For example, McCarthy said that the victim's sister claimed to have seen the abductor leaving a certain building minutes before the kidnapping occurred. McCarthy said police never interviewed people at that address.

Chaney displayed no reaction when the verdicts were read, Ferris said.

After hearing 2 days of testimony, the eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated two hours Thursday, then returned to the jury room for two hours Friday morning.

The jury heard that the 8-year-old girl was snatched from a Brooklyn Park street corner as she and her older sister walked to a store early on the evening of March 11, 1987. The girl was pulled into a truck and driven off. She was molested and left in Arbutus, about a half-mile from Chaney's home.

The jury was told that there was no argument that the girl was molested.

The question was whether Chaney could be identified as the attacker.

Ferris told the jury that the victim and her sister identified Chaney from photographs. She said the victim showed police a pile of items that fell out of her attacker's truck during the abduction. The debris contained a wrapper from a hardware store near Chaney's home.

McCarthy said that the identifications were not reliable and that the circumstantial evidence was shaky.

He said after the verdict that because of the emotion involved in the case, the jury may have been "persuaded by potentially less evidence" than would have been necessary if the case had not involved a child molestation.

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