Doctor charged with kidnapping gets 29-year term

September 10, 1992

A 38-year-old Dundalk doctor who was convicted of daytime housebreaking, kidnapping, carrying a dangerous weapon and eluding police was sentenced yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to 29 years in prison.

Judge J. William Hinkel said he agreed with the state's contention that Leonard Harris is a danger to society. "He becomes more dangerous because of his position of trust in the community as a medical doctor," the judge said.

Harris was convicted of breaking into a woman's White Marsh apartment, then assaulting and kidnapping another woman who had yelled for him to stop. A separate jury deadlocked on charges that Harris raped three other women. The state later dropped the rape charges.

Harris' attorney, Rodney Gaston, said yesterday that his client is innocent and that the trial was a "travesty." He said the kidnapping conviction probably would be overturned on appeal.

Scott Shellenberger, who prosecuted the case, argued that Harris should receive the maximum penalty of 44 years in prison. Mr. Shellenberger cited the doctor's criminal record, which includes a Peeping Tom charge and an assault conviction.

Harris "is an absolute threat to the community," Mr. Shellenberger said. "The reason he is so dangerous is because he is not what he appears. He is a time bomb waiting to go off."

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