Doctor relates ordeal BALTIMORE CITY

January 14, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

The rope burns on his neck and wrists faded long ago. But Daniel Ford, the Johns Hopkins Hospital physician described by authorities as Dontay Carter's first kidnapping victim, says his psyche will remain forever scarred by the ordeal in the trunk of his car.

"Luckily I healed quickly from my physical injuries, but going through something like this changes the way you look at the world forever," Dr. Ford said yesterday in his first statement to the press since he was kidnapped last Feb. 7 in the East Baltimore hospital's parking garage. "It's hard to be as optimistic about society, and it's hard to look at people and not prejudge them."

Dr. Ford, 35, granted a brief interview yesterday after testifying against Carter in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Carter, convicted in the Feb. 11, 1992, abduction and murder of a computer engineer from Catonsville and the Feb. 14, 1992, kidnapping of a downtown Baltimore jeweler, is on trial for the attempted first-degree murder of Dr. Ford.

Dr. Ford told the jury that Carter, 19, approached him on the XTC third floor of the parking garage and forced him at gunpoint into the trunk of his Honda Accord. And it was Carter who threatened to smash him with a hammer, choked him with a rope and vowed to burn his body, he testified.

The doctor said he was in the trunk when he overheard the plan to murder him.

"I heard Carter say, 'He's seen me. I've got to kill him. We've got to burn his body with gasoline,' " Dr. Ford testified. "I was just preparing to die at that point."

Dr. Ford, a specialist in internal medicine who has practiced at Hopkins for four years, said Carter, who stole his wallet, struggled to drive the five-speed, manual transmission and ordered the doctor to drive out of the garage.

After driving a few blocks, the doctor was told to pull into an alley and was ordered back into the trunk. Carter then drove a short distance before stopping in another alley, where he opened the trunk, tied his captive's hands and choked him with a rope, the doctor said. "I just remember feeling like my head was going to burst," he said, adding he quickly passed out.

When he awoke, others were in the car with Carter, Dr. Ford said.

Eventually, he guessed they had abandoned the car and he began kicking and yelling. He sprang the trunk latch and saw a mall security guard.

The guard, Cynthia McNeely, testified yesterday, "That's the first time I ever saw anything like that. His eyes were rolling back."

Dr. Ford recalled that when police arrived at his Northeast Baltimore home to show him mug shots of suspects within days of the incident, they found the Fords' second car with its door open and a key in a nearby gutter. "I said, 'They've been back to steal our other car,' " Dr. Ford testified, adding that a "club" device on the steering wheel apparently thwarted the attempt.

Dr. Ford and his wife of 12 years, Carolyn Richardson-Ford, said they followed coverage of Carter's trial in the beating death of Vitalis V. Pilius, the Catonsville man. Expressing his sympathy for the slain father of four, he said, "Last night when I was playing with my [2-year-old] son, I was thinking Mr. Pilius can't do this."

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