'Serial Rapist' To Serve 2 Life Terms In Glen Burnie Attacks

Brooklyn Park Man, 32, Broke Into Woman's Home Twice

February 23, 1992|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

A Brooklyn Park man described as a serial rapist has been sentenced to serve two life terms for two separate attacks on a Glen Burnie woman.

Michael D. Armstead, 32, was sentenced Friday to four life terms -- two to run concurrently and two to run consecutively -- for breaking into the woman's home, raping her and then returning more than a year later to rape her again.

County Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. also sentenced Armstead, suspected in a series of attacks laid to the "North County rapist," to two 20-year terms for burglary.

Armstead will be eligible fora parole hearing upon serving 30 years, said Paul J. Davis, chairmanof the state Parole Commission. Davis said those sentenced to life who receive parole can usually expect to serve 50 percent more than the time needed to become eligible.

Armstead is scheduled to stand trial in April for three crimes in Linthicum, a 1990 rape of a woman in her home, a 1991 burglary and a 1991 attempted burglary that led tohis arrest. He is scheduled to stand trial in April in Howard Countyin two rapes there, prosecutors said. He is also a suspect in five rapes a decade ago in his hometown in West Virginia.

Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris said she was pleased Armstead receivedthe maximum sentence on all counts, describing him as a serial rapist who is "a danger to women."

After Friday's sentencing hearing, the victim said the man "got what he deserved."

"There are a lot ofwomen out there who won't have to worry about one criminal," said the 32-year-old woman, who was joined in court by her sister, four brothers and parents. "Hopefully, things will get back to normal for me. I'm not as paranoid as I used to be."

A jury convicted Armstead inDecember, ending a three-day trial in which prosecutors used DNA evidence to link him to the two rapes. The woman testified she came homeon Jan. 22, 1989, to find a hooded figure standing near her back door. The man, holding a carving knife, put a pillowcase over her head, wrapped duct tape around her neck and raped her, she testified. He then poked holes in the pillowcase and forced her to perform oral sex.

The woman also testified she was awakened around 4 a.m. Sept. 7, 1990, by the sound of breaking glass. She said the man came into her bedroom and asked, "Did you miss me?" before blindfolding her and raping her.

During the trial, Armstead's lawyer, Robert E. Morin, questioned the reliability of DNA evidence and said the state had not proved Armstead was responsible for the rapes. Prosecutor Ferris said DNA testing of Armstead's blood and semen recovered from the victim showed within odds of 1-in-2.5 million that he was responsible for both attacks.

Also, after being arrested last March on suspicion of burglary, Armstead responded to police questions about sex offenses by saying, "Now you want to get me for raping those white women." The race of the rape victims had never been publicized, the prosecutor said.

As sheriff's deputies led him from the courtroom Friday, Armsteaddenied raping anybody, saying the DNA evidence that helped convict him was flawed.

"I'll be maintaining my innocence through my appeal," he said.

Members of his family distributed a written statement,complaining that DNA test results were allowed as evidence and that the fact that he is black and his victim is white helped convict him.

"The real rapist is the State of Maryland who has offered Michaelas the sacrificial lamb to cool the fires of public outcry to find the person responsible for these rapes," the statement reads.

Authorities have described similar methods used in the attacks in Anne Arundel and Howard counties. In most cases, the rapist wore gloves, was methodical in his attack and was described as well-spoken and articulate.

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