Rapist draws 2 life terms Howard sentence added to life terms for Arundel rapes

December 17, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

If Michael Devon Armstead had more than one life, he would spend them all in prison.

The 33-year-old Brooklyn Park man was given two life sentences in Howard Circuit Court yesterday for the rape of an Ellicott City woman in January 1991.

The sentence, issued by Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr., is in addition to five life sentences Armstead is already serving at the Maryland Penitentiary for rapes in Anne Arundel County.

"This is one of those rare instances when there is no justification for mercy," Assistant State's Attorney Kate O'Donnell said.

The victim, a 30-year-old receptionist, was present for the sentencing but did not make a statement. Armstead did not speak on his own behalf before the judge issued the sentence.

Public Defender Louis Willemin said he plans to appeal his client's conviction.

Armstead was convicted of two counts each of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense and burglary, and one count each of perverted sexual practices, assault and attempted robbery last week.

Judge Sybert gave the former railroad worker the life sentences for one count each on the rape and sexual offense charges. A life sentence is the maximum permitted penalty for those charges. Armstead received another 20-year sentence for the burglary charges.

Anyone ordered to life in prison must serve at least 15 years of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole, according to state law. That means Armstead will be 108 years old before he works off the life sentences for the Howard and Anne Arundel cases.

Judge Sybert rejected suggestions by Mr. Willemin not to sentence his client to the life terms, considering that he already has five of them to serve. The public defender favored a sentence of 50 to 70 years in prison.

Mr. Willemin also asked the judge to allow Armstead to serve the sentences concurrently with the sentences in Anne Arundel, but that request was denied.

According to testimony, Armstead pried open a garage window to enter the woman's home on Jan. 29, 1991. Then he attacked her, demanding money and jewelry.

After the woman showed him her wallet, which contained $2, he forced the victim to have intercourse and perform a sex act, according to testimony.

Armstead ordered the woman to dress and bound her hands behind her back with duct tape. He took her outside, where he fled and she ran to neighbors to call police.

Armstead still must stand trial for the May 1989 rape of a Marriottsville woman on March 1. He also faces a trial Jan. 27 for a burglary in Marriottsville.

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