Man, 37, pleads guilty in neighbor's murder

June 28, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 37-year-old Glen Burnie man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court for attacking his neighbor in her back yard, throwing her into her pool and forcing her head under water.

Charles Leonard Adams Jr., of the 100 block of Queen Anne Road, pleaded guilty before Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. in the June 24, 1993, death of Kimberly Renee Reinhardt, 25.

Assistant State's Attorney Frank Ragione told Judge Thieme that Ms. Reinhardt got home from work shortly before 3 p.m. June 20 and went out to her back yard to sun herself near the pool.

Adams saw her and walked over from his house next door, stripped off his clothes and threw her into the pool, Mr. Ragione said. He then took off her clothes and held her under water, Mr. Ragione said.

"The neighbors just thought they were fooling around. It wasn't until things suddenly got really quiet that they realized something was wrong," he said.

He said a neighbor rushed over, pulled Ms. Reinhardt out of the water and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation while another neighbor called 911.

Mr. Ragione said Adams tried to run when police arrived, but was quickly apprehended.

"He blurted out a number of admissions, saying things like 'I'm sorry. God help me. I'm just going to go with the program from now on,' " Mr. Ragione said.

He said the victim died four days later at North Arundel Hospital, where she had been on life support.

George Lantzas, Adams' lawyer, said his client had taken PCP before the attack and was found to be under its influence at the time he was arrested.

After his arrest, District Court Judge James W. Dryden ordered that Adams undergo a psychiatric evaluation and a state psychiatrist found that he might have been incompetent to stand trial, Mr. Lantzas said.

Court records show the day before the attack, Adams jumped from his father's car on Route 50 on the way to Ocean City, laid down on the highway and tried "to use telepathy to stop traffic," Mr. Lantzas said.

He said if the case had been tried, he would have argued that his client's drug-induced haze made it impossible for him to form the specific intent to kill, a legal requirement to convict for first-degree murder.

Mr. Ragione said he accepted the plea to second-degree murder because he would have had difficulty establishing that Adams had sufficient mental capacity to form an intent to kill. "I couldn't prove that this guy was operating with a mind that was fully functioning at the time of the attack," Mr. Ragione said.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum 30-year prison term.

Members of the victim's family said they hope Adams gets a 30-year term when Judge Thieme sentences him Aug. 22.

They described Ms. Reinhardt, a slightly built woman who lived with her mother and worked at a McDonald's on Mountain Road, as someone who was easy to love.

Max Schlichting, the victim's brother-in-law, said that his 4-year-old son, Christopher, still asks about Ms. Reinhardt, often talks about her and cannot understand why anyone would ever hurt her."

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