Former firefighter pleads guilty to attacking two prostitutes

December 07, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A former volunteer firefighter from Savage could be sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday to charges that he attacked two prostitutes.

James Scott Botschen, 32, entered a plea agreement in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on charges of attempted murder and attempted first-degree rape for the attacks.

In the agreement, Botschen could be sentenced to life in prison for each charge, with all but 40 years to be suspended. He will be permitted to serve the sentences concurrently.

Judge Raymond Thieme Jr. is to sentence Botschen on Feb. 14, after a report on Botschen is completed by the county Department of Parole and Probation.

The agreement covers charges that allege Botschen attacked four prostitutes on consecutive nights along a deserted cul-de-sac in Brooklyn Park in the first four days of September 1992.

In addition, the agreement includes charges in which Botschen was accused of beating a prostitute and leaving her for dead in Frederick County on May 25, 1991.

Prosecutors will drop 35 charges, including two counts of first-degree rape and numerous sexual offenses, as part of the plea agreement.

Botschen must serve at least 15 years before he is eligible for parole, under state law. He is expected to serve the sentence at Patuxent Institution, the state's primary rehabilitation prison in Jessup.

Anne Arundel Assistant Public Defender Paul Hazlehurst said the decision to enter the agreement was influenced by the possibility that prosecutors could use letters written by Botschen graphically detailing the attacks at trial.

Anne Arundel State's Attorney Frank Weathersbee said state troopers initiated the investigation on Sept. 4, 1992, staking out Swan Creek Road in search of an old yellow sedan. The troopers began the stakeout after another prostitute reported being raped at knifepoint at the cul-de-sac the day before, Mr. Weathersbee said.

The victims told police strikingly similar stories. They reported that Botschen picked them up, engaged them in sex acts and then attacked them with a knife.

The troopers spotted the car about 2 a.m. as it drove down the street without its lights on, Mr. Weathersbee said.

The troopers approached the car, where they found a woman, partially nude, sitting in the vehicle's front passenger seat across from Botschen. She immediately got out of the car when the troopers arrived.

The woman, who admitted to being a prostitute, told the troopers that she met Botschen on a South Baltimore street, where Botschen propositioned her for sex, Mr. Weathersbee said.

Botschen drove the woman to the cul-de-sac, pulled out a 13-inch kitchen knife and ordered her to take off her clothing, Mr. Weathersbee said. He then took a Polaroid camera and ordered the half-naked woman to pose for a picture.

The picture, as well as pictures of two women in similar poses, were discovered in the car, Mr. Weathersbee said. The knife and a number of Savage Volunteer Fire Department shirts also were discovered.

In the Frederick case, Assistant State's Attorney Cheryl Hershey told Judge Thieme that another woman reported to police that she met Botschen in Baltimore on May 25, 1991.

Botschen drove the woman to a wooded area off Greenfield Road in Frederick, where he repeatedly beat the woman and injured her vagina, Ms. Hershey said.

Botschen left the woman lying unconscious in a pool of blood, where she was discovered about two days later by two hikers, Ms. Hershey said. The woman, who was unable to move because of her injuries, was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery to reconstruct her vagina, the prosecutor said.

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