Man given 13 years in abduction

Estranged girlfriend taken at gunpoint from her workplace

May 18, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 33-year-old man who pulled his struggling, estranged girlfriend from her workplace at gunpoint in a high-profile daytime abduction was sentenced yesterday to 13 years in prison.

Calling the crime "nothing less than a horror show" for the woman who was abducted and another who was held at gunpoint, Judge Diane O. Leasure sentenced Miguel A. Diaz, of the 3600 block of Bel Pre Road in Silver Spring, to 30 years in prison but suspended 17 years and placed Diaz on five years of supervised probation.

Before sentencing, Leasure noted that an evaluator working on a presentence report said Diaz was a "moderate to high risk" for committing the same crime again.

"All this certainly convinces me that the fear these two victims had and continue to have is justified," Leasure said.

Diaz pleaded guilty to kidnapping and second-degree assault in March.

According to prosecutors and court documents, Diaz went to Professional Mailing & Distribution Services near Savage, where his estranged girlfriend, Marisa Bel Garcia, worked, about 10 a.m. July 14, saying he wanted to return her belongings. Instead, he pulled her from the business after pulling a weapon -- a BB gun -- on one of Garcia's coworkers.

Police from Howard and Montgomery counties, with FBI agents, found the pair a few hours later after learning that Diaz planned to ask his roommate to pick up a paycheck from his employer, the Ourisman car dealership in Rockville.

When the roommate picked up the check, Diaz and Garcia were in the car. Detectives followed the vehicle to a nearby gas station and arrested Diaz.

In the weeks before the abduction, prosecutor Kim Oldham said, Diaz tracked down Garcia, 41, at her relatives' home in Texas and found the dealership where she had purchased a truck.

The day before the abduction, he called her workplace, saying he was from the dealership, Oldham said.

"This is someone who was determined and was planning," she said.

But Janette E. DeBoissiere, Diaz's public defender, said her client did not go to Professional Mailing & Distribution Services to kidnap Garcia. In fact, she said, Diaz had already unloaded Garcia's belongings. "It wasn't a plotted, planned kidnapping," she said, arguing for a five-year term.

He wanted to talk to her, DeBoissiere said, but added, "I do think things changed once he got there."

As DeBoissiere spoke, Diaz's father, Santos, who traveled to Ellicott City from his Connecticut home, sat in a back row with his head in his hands, wiping away tears.

Neither Garcia nor Norma Alamo, the warehouse manager at whom Diaz pointed the gun, were in court. Oldham said both are scared to face Diaz, although Garcia gave a brief statement, part of which the attorney read to the court: "Please don't let this man hurt me or my family."

In a letter to the court, Miguel Diaz said he "made a terrible mistake" and called his actions "irresponsible, negligent and wrong."

"If I could take back all that I done in order to restore the balance that I disrupted in your lives, I would," he wrote.

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