Jessup carjacker gets 2 years in jail

December 01, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A 19-year-old escapee from a Maryland City detention facility was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday for being part of a group that hijacked a car from a woman in Jessup.

Steven R. Berry pleaded guilty to robbery Oct. 15. Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. gave Berry credit for 232 days served in the county detention center awaiting trial.

Berry was part of a group of seven residents of the Cedar Knoll juvenile detention facility who escaped about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8. The youths made their way to a grove of trees near the Jessup post office, at 2851 Jessup Road.

One of them approached Jean Grant of Jessup, who was walking back to her car after mailing a letter. When he asked her for a ride, she noticed the youths in the trees behind him. All were dressed in jeans and dark shirts, the uniforms at Cedar Knoll.

Ms. Grant, who had left her keys in the ignition, refused repeated requests for a ride. She tried to get back into her 1988 Beretta but was pushed to the ground by one of the youths. Assistant Public Defender Gary Christopher claimed Berry "never laid his hands" on the victim during the incident.

The group piled into the car and drove off, heading east on Route 175, according to a statement of facts read into the court record.

The school, which is operated by the District of Columbia, is about one mile from the post office, said Trooper Michael Grant, who is assigned to the Glen Burnie barracks.

The car, valued at $6,100, was found totaled the next day in Washington, D.C. It had been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Southeast Washington, and $51 left in the victim's purse was missing, according to the statement.

Assistant State's Attorney Robert Bittman said Berry was in Cedar Knoll because of drug offenses he committed as a juvenile. He said Berry was the only adult involved in the carjacking.

Of the six other defendants, Trooper Grant said, three remain at large, one failed to appear for trial and two juveniles received suspended sentences and were ordered to return to Cedar Knoll.

Mr. Christopher said Berry faces two years at Cedar Knoll when he completes the robbery sentence.

Congress this year cut money for Cedar Knoll from the D.C. budget, leaving its future in doubt.

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