Man gets life sentence for attempted murder of his former girlfriend

Judge unsympathetic to defense requests for treatment program

May 26, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County judge sentenced a married man who nearly killed his former girlfriend in an Odenton street to life in prison yesterday, calling him a "spoiled child" with an ego that wouldn't tolerate a woman quitting their decadelong abusive relationship.

Circuit Judge Pamela L. North showed little sympathy for the rambling apology Enoch A. Brown, 40, of Baltimore offered. He told a hushed courtroom that he did not remember the attack in front of neighbors gathered at an ice cream truck. Emotional testimony from the victim, who has ear-to-ear scars on her neck from Brown's slashes, left spectators sobbing.

"My take on this is that you have may have had some kind of mental problems, but you had some kind of planned fantasy [to kill] this woman," North said.

She said she was offended by Brown's sense that he was in charge of the relationship and by his "notion of people as property."

"I will never understand that whole mentality," said North, the first and only woman among the county's 10 Circuit Court judges.

As Brown said he was sorry for victim Carolyn A. Brown and for himself, North interjected, "Your wife, do you ever think about what you did to her?" As he stumbled for a response, North added, "She deserves some kind of medal if you ask me." The couple has three children.

Brown, a former corrections officer at the District of Columbia's Oak Hill youth facility in Laurel, pleaded guilty in March to attempted murder in the June 23 attack on Carolyn Brown, a 48-year-old widow who taught him to read, tried to get him to end years of cocaine and alcohol use, paid his bills and became his lover.

Brown's lawyers, Arthur Alperstein and Robert Wolf, pointed to hospitalizations for substance abuse and depression, and said their client was "addled by his addictions." They asked for a sentence within the 15- to 25-year state guidelines and a recommendation for treatment at Patuxent Institution. North refused the Patuxent request but said she might reconsider.

Assistant State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, seeking the maximum sentence of life, said psychiatric reports from Clifton T. Perkins State Hospital indicated Brown was manipulative and was faking mental problems. She described the case as the ultimate in domestic violence.

The victim, halting and crying as she testified, nearly passed out after leaving the witness stand. A defense attorney and a victim's advocate steadied her.

As she spoke, Brown looked away and rubbed his eyes, though she repeatedly asked him to look at her.

"If you loved me, that was graveyard love," she said.

Carolyn Brown described a year of recuperating, being hospitalized for emotional turmoil, her continuing nightmares, depression and despondency over scars that she said lead people to stare at her neck.

"I used to think I was pretty. I'm not pretty no more," she said.

"When I go to sleep, Enoch is chasing me, he is chasing me, he is chasing me in my dreams. I wake up at 3 o'clock and I can't go back to sleep," she said. She said she has contemplated committing suicide.

After Carolyn Brown tried to end the relationship with the defendant, he stalked her and made at least 80 threatening telephone calls, vowing to kill her, himself and the elderly godfather she took care of. On June 18, she filed harassment charges.

Five days later, he followed her and forced her into her house in the 1200 block of Queen Anne Ave., brandishing a box cutter. He chased her outside, slashing the left side of her neck. She kept running and falling, and he kept slashing. He warned off horrified neighbors who tried to help, including the off-duty emergency medical technician later credited with saving her from bleeding to death.

As sirens warned that police were approaching, he slit her throat. With police watching, he cut his own neck and collapsed on her as he had threatened to do.

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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