Columbia man, 29, charged in assault

Quadriplegic woman attacked in her home

October 08, 1999|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A Howard County grand jury indicted a Columbia man yesterday on attempted-murder charges in the August assault on a quadriplegic woman who authorities said was struck several times in the head with a rock or brick.

Kevin C. Laster, 29, of the 6000 block of Cedar Wood Drive was indicted on two counts of attempted murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property and several counts of burglary.

The woman's boyfriend, who tried to protect her, also was injured in the attack.

"Mr. Laster denies committing any criminal acts," said Laster's lawyer, Kenneth W. Ravenell. "We are aware he was indicted, and we are prepared to face the charges."

Police said Dorothy Copley was baby-sitting her sister's two daughters at her apartment in the Village of Kings Contrivance on Aug. 15 when a man broke into the home about 5: 15 a.m.

Copley told authorities that she suspected the man used a credit card or another device to gain access to the apartment, police said.

The intruder threatened Copley, a quadriplegic, with an "edged weapon," possibly a "knife or scissors," court records show. The man then took the children, police said, and left the apartment.

When police arrived, an officer found the girls walking down the street.

Police said the girls told the officer that their father had taken them to a nearby park to talk with them and had given them cash because he was "going away."

About an hour later, the same intruder re-entered the apartment, police said, and barged into the bedroom where Copley was sleeping.

Copley told police she heard a thump and shatter before the intruder burst into her room and demanded to know the whereabouts of the children's mother, police said.

Copley told him she didn't know. The intruder told Copley: "If you don't tell me, I will kill you," police said.

Copley responded: "I don't know, so you will have to kill me."

The intruder replied: "Then you are gonna die," according to police.

The intruder struck Copley about five times in the head with a brick or rock, according to police. Copley's boyfriend, Phillip Atzert, tried to shield her from the attack, police said, and wrestled with the intruder.

The attacker stopped when he realized that someone had called police, authorities said.

Copley and Atzert were treated at area hospitals.

Laster, who police said is the father of the two girls, was arrested Aug. 30 and later released on $150,000 bond.

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