Man, 20, convicted in rape, stabbing

Woman was attacked in Owings Mills apartment

April 20, 2002|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old Baltimore County man was convicted yesterday of attempted murder and first-degree rape for repeatedly stabbing and assaulting a woman in her Owings Mills apartment last year.

Tavon Linnel Fullwood of the 1300 block of Dartmouth Ave. in Hillendale was convicted by a jury of six men and six women. They deliberated three hours after a weeklong trial before Baltimore County Circuit Judge J. William Hinkel.

The 27-year-old victim was stabbed five times and beaten on the head March 15, 2001, before neighbors alerted police to the screams coming from her apartment on Strawhat Drive, according to testimony.

The Sun does not identify victims of sex crimes.

The victim, who had moved to the area from Pittsburgh a few months before the attack, was barely conscious when she was found about 3 a.m. by police officers who had to break down the door to the apartment in the Morningside Heights complex, said Assistant State's Attorney Susan Hazlett.

Hazlett said the woman has no memory of the attack and could not identify her assailant.

"She's made an amazing recovery," Hazlett said. "It was an extremely brutal crime."

Fullwood was convicted based on the testimony of a cousin. Melvin Fullwood, who lives in the Morningside Heights complex, testified that Tavon Fullwood came for a visit earlier the night of the attack, but left angry when the defendant's stepfather refused to give him a ride home.

He also testified that the defendant returned a short time later with blood on his hands, took a shower and put his bloody clothes in a plastic bag before he left. The defendant told his cousin that he "got in a fight," according to testimony.

Assistant State's Attorney Dilip Paliath told jurors yesterday that Fullwood left his jacket in the victim's bedroom and a palm print on the inside of her bedroom door. He entered the apartment through a sliding glass door that was left unlocked, Paliath said.

Kenneth W. Ravenell, Fullwood's attorney, told jurors in closing arguments yesterday that Melvin Fullwood attacked the victim and testified against his cousin to save himself.

He emphasized that Melvin Fullwood initially lied to police and said that he had no visitors on the night of the attack.

"The man is lying," Ravenell told jurors.

But Paliath said that there was no evidence that placed Melvin Fullwood in the victim's apartment.

Hinkel said he would probably sentence Fullwood in about six weeks. Prosecutors said they plan to seek a life sentence.

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