Woman gets 15 years, 8 months for role in carjacking-slaying

Bolton Hill man fatally beaten by her companion

October 30, 1999|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

A 26-year-old Baltimore woman was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Baltimore to 15 years and eight months in prison for participating in a carjacking in which an elderly Bolton Hill man was bludgeoned to death.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake accepted the recommendation of prosecutors to shave nearly four years off the sentence of Janet Hope King because she immediately admitted her involvement and identified her then-boyfriend as the man who fatally beat 86-year-old Ernest J. Hildebrandt outside his home in January 1998.

Last week, Robert Lane, King's former boyfriend, was sentenced to life for beating Hildebrandt to death while taking his car, a crime that stunned the Mid-Town community.

Lane pleaded guilty to the crime in July after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty in the case -- a plea that Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio said would not have been possible without the information provided by King.

"The cooperation in this case was essential and vital," DiBiagio said.

DiBiagio said a lesser sentence for King was justified because Lane, not King, beat Hildebrandt.

As part of a plea agreement reached more than a year ago with federal and state prosecutors, King will plead guilty next week in Baltimore Circuit Court to second-degree murder in the case. She will receive a 30-year sentence, with all but 12 years suspended, and will serve the time concurrently with her federal sentence.

According to court papers, the Hildebrandt case was one of a series of carjackings and car thefts King and Lane committed from December 1997 to January 1998, using cash they stole and money they withdrew with their victims' ATM cards to buy heroin.

William B. Purpura, King's attorney, said his client had been a drug addict since age 17 or 18 and had limited intellectual ability.

King said, "I'm sorry for the things that I done wrong. I apologize to my family for the things I put them through."

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