Accused kidnapper took woman's car to 'save the world,' attorney says

September 27, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A man accused of abducting an architect in a North Laurel carjacking and leading police on a chase through three states in March 1993 never intended to kidnap the woman or steal her car, the man's attorney told a Howard Circuit Court jury yesterday.

The man -- who has pleaded not criminally responsible by reason of insanity -- needed the woman's car so he could save the world, Assistant Public Defender F. Spencer Gordon told the jurors in an opening statement.

Mr. Gordon is representing Christopher Bradley, a 22-year-old Washington resident charged with kidnapping, robbery, assault, battery, theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle for the March 25, 1993, incident.

"In his mind, he felt he had to drive to the north where he saw a light," said Mr. Gordon, explaining Mr. Bradley's actions. "He felt he had to get to this light to prevent the world from coming to an end."

A jury of seven women and five men must decide if Mr. Bradley is guilty or innocent of the charges against him. If Mr. Bradley is found guilty, the jurors then must determine if he is criminally responsible for his actions. Testimony in the case continues today before Judge Raymond Kane Jr.

Mr. Gordon asked the jury to acquit Mr. Bradley of the charges, saying the prosecution will not be able to prove that his client had the "specific intent" of kidnapping the woman and stealing her car.

The public defender said the testimony will show that the woman, Jane Rohde of Baltimore, was not forced to travel with Mr. Bradley and that Mr. Bradley promised to give her the car back upon his return.

Meanwhile, Assistant State's Attorney Mary Reese asked the jury in her opening statement to convict Mr. Bradley of the counts against him and then to hold him criminally responsible for the charges.

Ms. Reese gave the following account of the incident, which occurred at Route 216's interchange with Interstate 95:

Ms. Rohde, 23, was driving to Baltimore when Mr. Bradley ran in front of her car as she traveled on a ramp leading to the interstate. Seeing that Mr. Bradley's car was broken down, Ms. Rohde pulled over to help him.

Mr. Bradley then reached in through the car's window and demanded that Ms. Rohde give the vehicle to him. Ms. Rohde attempted to drive away, but Mr. Bradley pulled himself into the car and crawled over the woman to the passenger seat.

"She was terrified," Ms. Reese said. "She found herself trapped in her own car. The defendant kept telling her to go faster and faster."

As the car sped north on I-95, Ms. Rohde persuaded Mr. Bradley to release her by offering the vehicle to him. Ms. Rohde was released at a shopping center along Wilkens Avenue, where she called police.

Mr. Bradley was later spotted traveling north on I-95 near White Marsh in Baltimore County, where state police troopers began pursuing him. Mr. Bradley traveled as fast as 100 mph during the two-hour, 80-mile chase.

Mr. Bradley fled through Delaware and was later apprehended in Camden County, N.J., after ramming a New Jersey state police cruiser that was part of a rolling road block.

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