Kidnapping suspect waives extradition, likely to be returned to Md. within 10 days He makes no statement concerning incident

September 24, 1997|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

John Robert Righter, 22, the man accused of kidnapping and assaulting a woman outside her Columbia home, waived his right to an extradition hearing in Ohio yesterday and will be returned to Maryland.

Howard County police spokesman Sgt. Steven Keller said Righter likely will be moved from Ohio to the Howard County Detention Center within 10 days. Until then, he remains in a Montgomery County (Ohio) jail in Dayton without bail.

Righter made no statements about the events of Friday during his brief hearing yesterday before Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge John Kessler. Kessler ordered Righter returned to Maryland to face kidnapping, assault and weapons charges in the abduction of Stephanie Musick, 21.

Righter's red 1989 Dodge Raider will be taken on a flat-bed truck to Maryland from Englewood, Ohio, the Dayton suburb where police said they found Righter and Musick, who was unharmed, 19 hours after the abduction.

Musick was abducted at gunpoint, handcuffed and forced into a car after a brief argument with a man in the driveway of her home.

Musick, a senior at Western Maryland College in Westminster, filed a harassment complaint against Righter on Sept. 5, after he allegedly sent her unwanted electronic-mail messages, letters and gifts.

One of the letters sent to Musick was signed "John 'The Tragic Hero' Righter," a police source said yesterday.

Howard police said an officer warned Righter to leave Musick alone, which he did until Friday, according to Howard County and federal court documents, when he showed up at her house as she was leaving for work.

Righter and Musick worked together at the Sears department store in The Mall in Columbia until Righter was fired in August. According to a police source, Righter was let go after an argument with a Sears manager.

Righter has been portrayed as a quiet, lonely man who grew up in Columbia and graduated from Wilde Lake High School in 1993.

After graduation, Righter joined the Army and was sent to Fort Benning, Ga., for boot camp from July 13, 1993, until Sept. 22, 1993, when he was discharged, military personnel records said.

Police sources say Righter was honorably discharged after being unable to pass the military's medical exam.

The early-morning abduction in the 6400 block of Grateful Heart Gate in Columbia's River Hill village shocked many of Musick's neighbors, some of whom say they witnessed the kidnapping.

Howard County police and FBI agents were able to trace a suspect to Ohio after NationsBank officials alerted them that a person had unsuccessfully tried to use an ATM bank card.

In Ohio, Musick was found handcuffed to a seat belt, and Righter was asleep in the back seat, authorities said.

Pub Date: 9/24/97

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