Joppatowne Man Acquitted In 'Stun Gun' Rape Case

December 23, 1990|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

A Joppatowne man accused of raping a Baltimore County woman after he shocked her with an electric "stun gun" was found not guilty in Harford Circuit Court last week.

Robert W. Ambrose, 23, was acquitted Monday on 14 charges, including two counts of first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense, by a jury of eight men and four women.

The jury reached its verdict Monday evening after about 90 minutes of deliberations. The case had included four days of testimony before Judge Cypert O. Whitfill.

The victim, a 25-year-old Essex woman, told the jury that Ambrose and two other men raped her in the back of a white limousine in March after the group unsuccessfully tried to buy cocaine in Baltimore County on March 29.

The woman said the men zapped her with the stun gun when she tried to stop the sexual attack.

But Ambrose testified that he and his friends gave the woman $150 so she could buy cocaine after she offered to have sex with the men in exchange for the money.

"Mr. Ambrose doesn't deny that he had sex with (the woman)," Eric P.

Macdonnell, one of Ambrose's defense attorneys, said in opening arguments.

During the trial, key defense testimony was offered by Steven Pierson of Fallston. Pierson, who has not been charged in the rape, testified that he was with the men and also had sex with the woman.

The woman, however, testified that Pierson was not involved in the attack.

Ambrose is the second of three men accused of the rape to be acquitted.

The first defendant, Andre S. Whims, 27, of Phoenix, Baltimore County, was acquitted after a jury trial in September.

In addition to first-degree rape and sex offense charges, Ambrose was charged by state police at Benson 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.

In addition to Ambrose and Whims, state police arrested Michael A. Bruno, 32, of Glenarm, Baltimore County, for the attack.

Bruno is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 25. He faces the same charges as Ambrose, plus additional counts of solicitation to commit murder.

Assistant State's Attorney Mark W. Nelson, who is prosecuting the cases, contends Bruno was the "cruise director" of the events leading to the attack of the woman.

The first solicitation to commit murder was filed against Bruno for suggesting to Ambrose and Whims that they kill the woman after the alleged rape, state police said.

The second solicitation charge was filed against Bruno while he was being held at the county Detention Center. Bruno offered $1,500 to a state police corporal he believed was a hired killer to murder the woman, state police charged.

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