Convicted murderer Dontay Carter returned to court yesterday to plead guilty in the kidnapping of Douglas R. Legenhausen, the jeweler whose escape from a car trunk led to the East Baltimore teen-ager's capture.
Carter pleaded guilty in the Feb. 14 abduction and robbery of Mr. Legenhausen in exchange for a sentence not to exceed 40 years. Carter faces a possible sentence of life in prison with no possibility for parole for his first-degree murder conviction in the Feb. 11 beating death of a Catonsville man.
Baltimore Circuit Judge John N. Prevas said he would order that sentence to be served consecutive to any term Carter receives for violating his probation stemming from a prior robbery conviction.
Carter, 19, faces up to eight years in prison on that charge. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Jury selection is set to begin Monday in Carter's trial in the Feb. 7 attempted murder and kidnapping of Daniel Ford, a Johns Hopkins physician abducted at gunpoint in the hospital's parking garage. Judge Prevas has said he would not sentence Carter until all the cases are concluded.
Hoping to encourage guilty pleas that would clear the docket of Carter's remaining charges, Judge Prevas yesterday said he would sentence the teen-ager to life for the Ford incident and 25 years for the Legenhausen abduction. When Carter invoked his right to a jury trial in the Ford kidnapping, the judge adjusted his offer on the Legenhausen case.
Stuart O. Simms, the city state's attorney, said the judge's actions were "somewhat unexpected."
"The state believed that putting us in a position where we could not recommend something close to 50 or more years [for the Legenhausen kidnapping] was not putting us in an appropriate position," Mr. Simms said.
Carter had faced a maximum sentence of 70 years for kidnapping, armed robbery and use of a handgun in a crime of violence in the Legenhausen abduction.
Last month, Judge Prevas offered Damien "Day Day" Daniels a 12-year sentence for his role in the Ford kidnapping after prosecutors had offered a 25-year sentence, with all but 10 years suspended.
During yesterday's hearing, Mr. Legenhausen took the witness stand to say Carter deserved a sentence longer than 40 years.
"What Mr. Carter did was give me a life sentence of fear," the jeweler, 47, said. "My therapist tells me this will pass. I'm not so sure. . . . I got life. I think he should get life."
Prosecutor Vickie L. Wash read a statement of facts that covered the same ground as Mr. Legenhausen did in testifying in Carter's murder trial in November. After being forced at gunpoint into the trunk of his car in the parking garage at the Harbor Park Cinema, Mr. Legenhausen drew on his experience as a jewelry designer to spring the latch and leap to safety on a city street.
Within minutes, Carter was under arrest and Mr. Legenhausen was identifying him as his kidnapper. Ms. Wash said a search of Carter produced a revolver and Mr. Legenhausen's wallet.