Man convicted in murder attempt, rape of girls 36-year-old faces six life terms in prison

April 27, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

A 36-year-old man faces six life terms in prison after being convicted yesterday of sexually assaulting and attempting to murder two young girls in their East Baltimore home.

Citing the violent nature of the attack, a prosecutor called it "the most horrible case" he'd seen in his four years in the sex offense unit of the city state's attorney's office.

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury deliberated for two hours before finding David M. Pierce guilty of the June 11 attack on a 7-year-old girl and her 11-year-old sister.

The victims are daughters of a female correctional officer who grew up in the same neighborhood as Pierce and became reacquainted with him while he was serving a prison sentence, trial testimony showed.

Pierce, who had once been charged with molesting a 5-year-old girl, had been paroled three months before the attack after serving less than seven years of a 10-year sentence for raping a young woman, according to court records and correctional officials.

While awaiting trial in the Baltimore City Detention Center in the assault on the correctional officer's daughters, he was critically wounded when a fellow inmate stabbed him in the back with a homemade shank. Injuries sustained in that incident require Pierce to use a wheelchair.

During the trial the girls identified Pierce as the man who asked to use the telephone while they were home alone at their Edison Highway house and, once inside, ordered them at knifepoint to disrobe.

The older sister, now 12, held her emotions in check last week as she testified that Pierce raped her, forced her to perform a sex act, stabbed her twice in the chest and bit her face.

"If you scream, I'm going to kill you," the girl quoted Pierce as saying during the attack.

Pierce twice stabbed the younger girl and bit her, testimony showed.

Police, alerted by a jogger who saw a naked girl run screaming into a nearby alley and a man emerge from the house carrying a knife, arrested Pierce at his home shortly after the incident.

A bloody kitchen knife with a 6-inch blade and bloodied clothing matching that worn by the attacker were recovered from Pierce's house in the 1400 block of N. Decker Ave.

The girls testified their mother was at a nearby tavern at the time of the attack. The mother testified that she was only an acquaintance of Pierce's, but defense witnesses suggested the two shared more than a casual relationship. Pierce did not testify.

The jury found Pierce guilty on all charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree rape and three first-degree sexual offenses, all of which carry maximum sentences of life in prison. The jury also found Pierce guilty of two weapons charges and of two counts of assault and battery.

Afterward, Prosecutor Jan M. Alexander said the case stood out because of the age of the children and the degree of violence. "It very easily could have been a murder case instead of an attempted murder case," he said, explaining that the stab wounds narrowly missed vital organs.

Mr. Alexander praised the two girls, both of whom continue to receive counseling from the Sexual Assault Recovery Center in Baltimore, for their courage on the witness stand.

"It takes a lot of guts for kids to get in there and face the accused like that," he said.

The prosecutor said he will recommend the maximum sentence for Pierce, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 28 by Judge Kenneth L. Johnson.

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