A Columbia man who robbed a bank to avoid paying child support was sentenced in Howard County Circuit Court Friday to six years in prison with a suspension of all but the year he has already served in jail.
Peter Laurence Axelrod, 49, of the 5700 block of Stevens Forest Road in Columbia's Oakland Mills village was also ordered to continue receiving counseling through Howard County Health Department's mental health services.
In suspending Axelrod's sentence, Howard County Circuit Judge James B. Dudley said he didn't believe that Axelrod would repeat a crime like the robbery of the First National Bank at Oakland Mills Village Center in September 1995.
In that incident, Axelrod entered the bank, handed a teller a typed note with his signature, took $2,600 and walked outside into the hands of police. He later said he wanted to get caught and go to prison to avoid the $696 child support payments he was ordered to pay his ex-wife for their three children.
"I've thought long and hard on the disposition in this case because it is unusual," Dudley said.
"The seriousness of the crime is not diminished by" Axelrod's mental state or the motive for the robbery, he said.
"We expect more from college graduates working people," Dudley said. "Don't come back. This is not a good place to come back to."
In court Friday, Axelrod apologized for the crime and said that his circumstances overwhelmed him and that he didn't know how to resolve them.
"I felt that at that time, I had two choices -- to go to jail for the rest of my life or commit suicide," he said. "I couldn't commit suicide. I made a terrible mistake. I'm more than ashamed."
Owen Brown: 6000 Majors Lane: Someone attempted to steal a white 1997 Jeep Cherokee between 5: 45 p.m. and 9: 30 p.m. Wednesday.
Long Reach: 6000 block of Tamar Drive: Someone stole a purple 1995 Pontiac Grand Am between 8 p.m. and 8: 30 p.m. Thursday. The Maryland license plate number is CGM236.
Pub Date: 9/30/96