Rapist who sought review of case gets longer sentence

May 03, 1992|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff writer

A serial rapist, sentenced to two life terms for two separate attacks on a Glen Burnie woman, hoped for a lesser sentence when he asked three county judges to review his case.

He got more than he bargained for.

Rather than decreasing his sentence, the judges increased it, giving Michael D. Armstead, 32, of Brooklyn Park, four consecutive life sentences.

"This Review Panel believes that the heinous facts of this case cry out for an increase in the sentences imposed by Judge [Raymond G.] Thieme," two of the three judges wrote in their opinion.

"The cases involve a man who raped a woman once, then came back -- after having had several months to think about what he had done -- and raped the same woman again."

But the third judge on the panel, Circuit Judge Martin A. Wolff, disagreed with his colleagues, Judges Eugene M. Lerner and Lawrence H. Rushworth. He said he would not have changed the sentence.

Armstead, who was found guilty of two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual offense and two counts of burglary, had been sentenced Feb. 21 to four life terms plus 20 years for each of the burglaries by Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr., who presided over the trial.

But Thieme made parts of the sentences concurrent, meaning they would be served at the same time. Armstead would have served the equivalent of two life sentences and been eligible for a parole review in 30 years.

His lawyer, Robert E. Morin, requested the review of the sentence, asking that it be reduced to 90 years.

During a hearing April 22, Morin said his client would have been eligible for parole sooner under the 90-year sentence.

Under the new sentence, Armstead will not be eligible for parole for 60 years, said Leonard A. Sipes Jr., director of public information for Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Although state law allows a review panel to change a sentence by increasing, decreasing or leaving it the same, several attorneys said it is extremely rare for a panel to increase the sentence of a trial judge.

Armstead was convicted after a three-day jury trial in December, in which prosecutors used so-called genetic fingerprinting to link him to the two rapes.

The rapes occurred on Jan. 22, 1989, and Sept. 7, 1990. In both cases, the man raped and sexually assaulted the woman repeatedly in her home.

Armstead has additional cases pending against him. He must stand trial here for three crimes in Linthicum: a 1990 rape of a woman in her home, a 1991 burglary and a 1991 attempted burglary that led to his arrest.

He was scheduled to stand trial in April in Howard County for two rapes there, but those cases were postponed until September.

He is also a suspect in five rapes a decade ago in his hometown in West Virginia.

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