A stranger pulls up to the school playground in a dingy sedan, snatches your 6-year-old daughter, stuffs her into his car and drives off.
Every parent's nightmare.
For a mother and father from Glen Burnie, it was no bad dream -- in fact, it got worse. The stranger drove their girl to a wooded areanear Elkridge, where he twice forced her to lie on the ground while he pulled her pants down.
The parents were at a loss for words yesterday after watching the stranger drop his insanity defense just before trial and plead guilty to kidnapping. While their daughter waitedin the courthouse snack bar, the parents sat in a courtroom and heard that 34-year-old Dale Leroy Knight faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 5.
They also heard how he hadtold police he kidnapped the girl because an intravenous blast of cocaine had made him "horny."
"When I do coke I get very horny," Knight told police after his arrest, "so I just went to the school and grabbed that girl. I didn't have no reason behind it."
Knight told police he kidnapped the girl "just to molest her," and he said he puthis hands down her pants, but said he did not penetrate her.
Under the plea agreement with Knight, prosecutors dropped two counts of attempted kidnapping of two other children. Assistant State's AttorneyCynthia M. Ferris said a charge of third-degree sex offense against Knight was dropped because the Glen Burnie kidnap victim would not have testified that the man made sexual contact with her.
Ferris told Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. the incident began around 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at the playground at Point Pleasant Elementary School, 1035 Dumbarton Road. She said the 6-year-old girl, her 7-year-old sister and a 9-year-old friend were playing when a man drove up in an "old green car."
"He literally picked up (the girl) and carried her to the car," Ferris said, adding the girl was screaming and kicking, and her sister tried to pull her away.
The children ran to a nearby house and police were called. Three hours later, the abducted girl startled a man working on a house in a secluded area near Elkridge by asking him if she could use the bathroom. The girl told the man she had been taken from a playground, and the man called police, Ferris said.
Police found a green Plymouth stuck in the woods off an unpaved road and, tracing the license plate number, identified Knight as a suspect. Knight was arrested two days later.
In an interview with county homicide detectives, Knight gave varying versions of his sexual advances toward the girl.
The interview transcript, which was added to the court file yesterday, recorded Knight as saying he was shooting up cocaine the day of the kidnapping. He said he intended to have sex with the girl, "but then I realized that she was too young, and she was saying it hurt, and I said, 'I don't want to hurt this girl.' "
He also said he touched the girl "between her privates" but "she was very scared so I stopped."
Knight, of the 100 block of South Meadow Drive, Glen Burnie, talked of "destroying that girl's life for a couple of years. She's young, but she'll be all right in the future. I'm sure, because she wasn't scared the whole time."
During the interview with detectives, Knight also admitted to trying but failingto kidnap two other young girls at a playground on Crainmont Drive near Kramer Court, Glen Burnie. In those incidents, he admitted tryingto kidnap a 5-year-old Dec. 9, just hours before the kidnapping of the 6-year-old. He said he also attempted to kidnap a 12-year-old Sept. 30.
He said cocaine made him sexually aroused and he spent a lotof time getting high and masturbating in his room.
At one point in the interview, Detective Thomas Suit said to Knight, "There's one thing I don't understand. Why little girls? You're an intelligent man."
Knight, who said he spent much of his income from an $8.50-an-hour job as a truck driver on cocaine, answered, "Because I don't have the money, and the only fun I have is sitting in my room. I was dating for a little while there, but women like money nowadays. I ain't making much money."
At the end of the interview, the detective askedthe suspect if he had anything else to say. Knight acknowledged causing the girl's parents grief, and he added: "I hope I didn't hurt that girl's life. . . . I know that's a big trauma for a little girl, orany girl, and I'm very sorry."