Because of an error in court documents, an article in yesterday's Anne Arundel County Sun reported incorrectly that a robbery suspect escaped last year from a county sheriff's van while being transported to District Court in Annapolis. The van was being operated by Wackenhut Security Inc., a private firm that transports prisoners from the Detention Center to District Court.
A 21-year-old man who escaped from a sheriff's van nearly a year ago pleaded guilty yesterday to a string of armed robberies and other offenses for which prosecutors want him to remain behind bars for the next 50 years.
Anthony Freeland, who was guarded by three deputies during his court appearance yesterday, admitted to committing six armed robberies after bolting from the van that was taking him to an appearance in District Court in Annapolis last September. Freeland was serving a 10-year sentence for robbing a Philadelphia grocery store at gunpoint when he was brought to Annapolis to be formally charged with a 1989 gunpoint robbery of the Pizza Express in Odenton.
Fred Paone, assistant state's attorney, said that Freeland jumped out of the rear of the van and ran down a hill and across Rowe Boulevard. He remained at large for three months, robbing pizza and sandwich shops in Howard, Prince Georges and Baltimore counties, in addition to Anne Arundel, until police arrested him Nov. 10, 1991, at a home in Glen Burnie.
Freeland pleaded guilty yesterday to six armed robberies in Anne Arundel County and one count each of escape and battery in the beating of a guard.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors in Howard and Prince George's counties have agreed to consolidate their cases with the Anne Arundel cases, Mr. Paone said. Freeland recently was indicted in a Baltimore County robbery and faces a separate court date there.
Yesterday, Freeland pleaded guilty to an attempted robbery May 5, 1989, at the Pizza Express in Odenton and five other gunpoint robberies from in October and November 1991 at Subway carryouts in the 7900 block of Baltimore and Annapolis Boulevard in Glen Burnie and the 3400 block of Fort Meade Road in Laurel, the Sunset Package Goods store on Greenway in Glen Burnie, the Pizza Hut in the 2600 block of Annapolis Road in Severn and Smalls Formal Wear on Ritchie Highway in Severna Park.
In addition, he pleaded guilty to assaulting a Detention Center guard March 23. According to a statement of facts read into the court record, Freeland was in handcuffs about 11:45 a.m. that day when he grabbed Officer Kenneth R. Potter 3rd around the neck and tried to choke him.
Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. set sentencing for Oct. 19. Mr. Paone said he will recommend that Freeland be sentenced to the entire 50 years for which he is eligible.