A Joppatowne man charged with raping a Baltimore County woman in the back of a limousine after striking her with an electric "stun gun" goes to trial in Harford Circuit Court tomorrow.
Robert W. Ambrose, 23, is the second of three men accused of the March 29 rape to stand trial. The first defendant, Andre S. Whims, 27, of Phoenix, Baltimore County, was found not guilty on Sept. 7.
State police at Benson filed 14 charges against Ambrose, including two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offense.
If convicted of the first-degree rape charges, Ambrose faces a possible life sentence in prison, prosecutors said.
Ambrose also is charged with one count each of second-degree rape, second degree sexual offense, sodomy, false imprisonment, kidnapping, assault with intent to rape, unnatural and perverted sexual practice, assault, battery and carrying a weapon with intent to injure.
Jury selection for Ambrose's trial started Friday. Testimony for the trial, which is expected to last a week, begins Monday before Judge Cypert O. Whitfill.
In addition to Ambrose and Whims, state police arrested Michael A.
Bruno, 32, of Glen Arm, Baltimore County. Bruno is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 25. He faces the same charges as Ambrose, and a charge of solicitation to commit murder for allegedly trying to have the woman killed after he was arrested.
Eric B. Macdonnell, a public defender representing Ambrose, said Whims' acquittal could help his case for Ambrose. But prosecutor Mark W. Nelson, an assistant state's attorney, said the Whims trial helped him prepare for his case against Ambrose.
"It's easier now in that you've seen how things work," said Nelson, who also prosecuted Whims. "It's a bit more predictable."
During Whims' trial, a 25-year-old Essex woman said she agreed to go for a ride with the men in their white Lincoln limousine after she met them at a Baltimore show bar, where she performed as a dancer that night.
The group drove to Essex because some of the men wanted cocaine, she said.
After leaving Essex, the men parked the limousine and attacked her, she said. When she started fighting them, they zapped her on the legs with a stun gun that emits an electric shock, she said.
The stun gun was found in the car after a search by police, court records show.
Whims testified during the trial that he, Bruno and Ambrose "flicked" the stun gun at each other, but he said he wasn't sure if the woman was hit with the weapon.
Whims also testified that the woman offered to have sex with him and his friends in exchange for cocaine. He said the men gave the woman about $150, but she never was given cocaine.
During the trial, defense attorneys presented testimony from a fourth man who said he also had intercourse with the woman the night of the alleged attacks. The victim did not mention the fourth man during her testimony in the Whims trial.