Man convicted in rape, murder of waitress

Two others awaiting trial in Cambridge death

April 11, 2000|By Chris Guy | Chris Guy,SUN STAFF

CAMBRIDGE -- A Dorchester County jury convicted a 22-year-old man yesterday in the rape and fatal beating of a Cambridge waitress last fall.

Willie James "Dreads" Bradwell was found guilty of first-degree murder, rape, first- and second-degree sex offenses and conspiracy in the death Sept. 4 of Yvonne Fountain, 33.

William McRae III, 17, and Otha William Wongus III and Diontre Lamont Stanton, both 16, were arrested and charged as adults in the incident.

Fountain's decomposing body was found Sept. 15 wrapped in plastic in woods near one of the busiest drug corners in this small riverfront city.

The Circuit Court jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for more than three hours yesterday before finding Bradwell guilty, ending a six-day trial marked by gruesome details of the rape and beating.

Bradwell, sheared of the trademark dreadlocks hairstyle that provided his nickname, showed no emotion throughout the trial. Dressed in a blue Oxford shirt, a gray vest and tan slacks, he occasionally took notes and talked with his attorney, Arch McFadden of Baltimore.

McRae, who agreed to testify against the others, pleaded guilty five weeks ago to first-degree murder. Stanton and Wongus are set for separate trials next month.

Fountain's friends and family members sobbed quietly as the verdict was read yesterday.

"I feel that justice has been done," said a tearful Christine Wright Gadow, a lifelong friend of Fountain's. "Lord willing, I plan to be here for the next two" trials.

Police say Fountain, the mother of two small children, waited tables at a Cambridge restaurant and was looking for $30 worth of crack cocaine when she was forced into an alley, raped and forced to perform oral sex by four males. Her assailants punched, stomped and beat her with such force with a .22-caliber rifle that the weapon's wooden butt shattered. "Ms. Fountain worked for a living," said prosecutor Michael Maloney. "She had money to buy her drugs. She was not selling her body. She was not a crack prostitute. Ms. Fountain suffered the worst nightmare any woman can imagine."

McFadden reminded jurors that prosecutors had no physical evidence linking Bradwell to Fountain, only the word of McRae, who changed his story numerous times before he pleaded guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Judge Donald F. Johnson set Bradwell's sentencing for June 7.

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