Man gets life term in stabbing of woman

Victim survives 13 wounds from October attack near a Lansdowne bar

September 22, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

An anxious Susan Grimm went to court yesterday and got her wish -- that her former boyfriend would go to prison for life for stabbing her 13 times, despite a judge's order that he stay away from her.

Grimm told Baltimore County Circuit Judge J. William Hinkel that Robert B. Faidley's attack last year, which sent her to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for two weeks, has "changed my life." She said she is on medication for "nightmares" and that her daughter is in counseling.

"It's hard to raise a 7-year-old when she's scared," she told Hinkel before he sentenced Faidley to life in prison. "I'm trying to overcome it and get on with my life."

Noting Faidley's history of domestic violence, prosecutor Stephen Bailey asked the judge to "never give him the opportunity to do this to anyone again."

Faidley was convicted of attempted first-degree murder and violating the protective order June 4. Victims rights advocates had pointed to the case as a prime example of the justice system's failure to follow through in domestic violence cases.

Before sentencing, Faidley, 39, apologized to Grimm and said, "I never even thought about hurting her. I still love her."

In comments from the bench, Hinkel noted Faidley's problems with alcoholism and his history of domestic violence that began at age 19 when he broke into his in-laws' home, and shot his estranged wife in the stomach and her father in the head.

"You pose a real threat to women. To be loved by you is a danger," said the judge, who sentenced Faidley to the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, where he will receive psychiatric treatment.

When Faidley stabbed Grimm in the parking lot of a Lansdowne bar Oct. 4, he was under a protective order to stay away from her. Only weeks before, Grimm had filed charges, claiming Faidley violated that order by stalking her.

Faidley was free the day he attacked Grimm because a Baltimore County court commissioner issued a summons -- rather than a warrant for Faidley's arrest -- for violating the protective order.

"This is a man who should not have been on the street," said Bailey, noting that Faidley took an "8-inch blade and jammed it 13 times into her back."

Faidley had been sentenced to 20 years for the 1979 shootings, but was paroled after eight years.

In Faidley's defense, F. Spencer Gordon, assistant public defender, asked the judge for a sentence that was less than life in prison.

He noted that Faidley has "an extremely troubled background," including an alcoholic and abusive father and a mother who was paranoid schizophrenic.

"He was on the street on his own at 13 and began drinking at 14," said Gordon. He said that Faidley has "profound, deep-seated problems" that give him a "sense of powerlessness."

Gordon said another side to Faidley is as a responsible employee who was a skilled printer at All Printworks in Timonium.

Gordon said Faidley was not completely to blame for his problems with Grimm. After Grimm obtained a protective order to keep Faidley away, the attorney said, "there is evidence she was calling and paging him at work when he was trying to stay away from her."

He also said that the night of the stabbing, Grimm "was the aggressor," and punched and kicked Faidley.

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