An Arnold man was convicted yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court of charges including first-degree rape, kidnapping and carjacking in an attack on a college student who had given him a ride in her car.
After four days of testimony in the nonjury trial, Circuit Judge Pamela L. North rejected claims by the defense that 35-year-old Ricardo Salvador Blake had consensual sex with the victim and an affair that he broke off.
The woman, now 19, testified that she did not know Blake - meeting him only on the night of the incident, Dec. 12, 1999, when she was smoking a cigarette while working at the Anne Arundel Medical Center parking garage in Annapolis.
She said they talked briefly and, against her better judgment, she agreed to give him a ride home.
Blake directed her to Shot Town Road in Arnold, where the woman - a student at Anne Arundel Community College - turned onto a dirt road, according to testimony presented by the prosecutor, Assistant State's Attorney Laura Kiessling.
Instead of getting out of the car, the woman testified, Blake turned to her and said, "I hate to have to do this to you." Then she was threatened with being shot, and she was raped.
The Sun does not print the names of victims of sexual assault.
Blake did not take the stand, but his attorney, Joel Katz, maintained that the victim was "scorned" and had accused Blake of rape because he ended their monthlong affair to go back to his wife.
The judge noted that Blake, according to statements, knew little about the woman - not even her last name.
"I think that two people who had an ongoing relationship would know a lot more about each other than these two," she said.
Kiessling said the victim got dressed in the car so quickly after the rape that she forgot to put on her underwear and one of her socks - details North said were convincing in her ruling that the sex was not consensual.
"It's hard for me to believe that a woman has consensual sex with someone and doesn't put her left or right sock back on," North said. "Who does that?"
Kiessling said the woman was so terrified after the rape that she sold her car and would worry about getting to her home safely.
Katz said Blake met the woman because his wife worked at the hospital and a relationship developed in which he would visit the woman at the parking garage. Defense witnesses testified to seeing Blake riding in a car that was similar to the woman's.
The prosecutor countered with work schedules, saying there was only one possible time, other than the night of the rape, when Blake could have met her at the parking garage. "That's the smoking gun," Kiessling said.
Katz questioned the victim's credibility because she apparently gave differing statements about whether Blake threatened her with a gun. He also said her attitude during cross-examination was inconsistent with that of a person who could be talked into driving a stranger home.
"This is a self-reliant person," he said. "This is not a meek, timid person, and that's what the state wants you to believe."
But North said she doubted the woman would have sold her car if she were lying about the rape or that the woman could fake the emotions shown after the incident.
"I think she'd have to be a highly skilled actor to reach the level of trauma described," North said. "Her testimony was very believable; I don't question it."
North declared the verdict immediately after closing arguments. Blake, of the 1300 block of Shirleyville Road, is to be sentenced May 1. He could face life imprisonment for the rape conviction and additional years on the others.
Kiessling said the woman, who lives in Pasadena, was one of the most convincing witnesses she's seen. "She's very relieved that she doesn't have to worry about it anymore," the prosecutor said.