Attack On Pregnant Woman Leads To 'Race Crime' Charge

Indictment Is First Under 3-year-old Law

July 23, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

In an apparent first in the county, an Annapolis man was indicted ona charge of racial harassment yesterday in connection with the beating and fondling of a pregnant black woman.

County State's AttorneyFrank R. Weathersbee said he could recall no previous indictments under a 3-year-old law that makes "racial crimes" a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Joseph Wayne King, 23, of the first block Silverwood Circle, was indicted two weeks ago on charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted theft in connection with the April attack on an 18-year-old woman. King was also charged with third-degree and fourth-degree sexual offenses.

Weathersbee said he went back to the grand jury yesterday and obtained a two-count indictment charging King, who is white, with racial harassment and a "racial crime."

The woman told police she was walking in the 800 block of Bayridge Road when the occupants of a passing blue Chevrolet Nova shouted at her. Then she was confronted near the Hillsmere shopping center by three men who yelled racial slurs at her, according to court records.

She kept walking along Bayridge Road but was jumped by men who emerged from behind a hedge. The men covered her mouth and dragged her behind a sub shop, where their attempts to steal her purse were unsuccessful because she had looped its strap over her shoulder under her jacket.

At that point, one man ripped her shirt open and repeated the racial epithet, the records show. The man squeezed her breast, pulled her stretch pants down to her waist and tried to pull down her underwear.

The three men then began punching the pregnant woman in the stomach, while repeating theracial slur. Then, according to the court file, a blue Chevy Nova pulled up. The driver said, "Somebody's coming," and the men piled in and drove away.

Weathersbee said police on a lookout for a blue Nova later stopped a car and charged its occupants with having an open container of alcohol. The woman identified King from a photographic lineup, court records show.

Weathersbee said police are continuing their search for others involved in the attack.

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