Killer of Carroll woman dies in prison in N.C.

Man had met victim in Internet chat room

February 20, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The man convicted in the sadomasochistic death in 1996 of a Carroll County woman he met in an Internet chat room has died in a North Carolina prison of an apparent heart attack, officials said.

Robert Frederick Glass, 51, was found dead Sunday at the Avery Mitchell Correctional Facility at Spruce Pines, N.C., according to the prison records office and W. Andrew Jennings, an assistant district attorney for Caldwell County.

"I think it was the first Internet homicide that was filed, where a murder charge was filed," he said.

In October 1996, Sharon Rena Lopatka, 35, of Hampstead told her family she was going to visit friends in Georgia but left a note for her husband, saying she would not be back and asking him not to go after Glass, according to court records and the Maryland State Police. Investigators retrieved e-mail about her fantasies of being sexually tortured to death after her husband reported her missing Oct. 20. Five days later, North Carolina authorities found her body in a shallow grave at Glass' trailer in the community of Collettesville.

Glass, a computer programmer, met Lopatka over the Internet and picked her up at a train station Oct. 13, he told investigators, saying she was strangled accidentally three days later during intercourse as they pulled on a nylon cord that she had looped around her neck.

Additional state and federal charges were filed after investigators found child pornography on Glass' computer, Jennings said. In January 2000, Glass pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and to state child-pornography charges. He also was convicted on the federal charges.

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