Man gets life term in Towson rape case

Sentence exceeds guides

student attacked last year

April 23, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

In an unusually harsh sentence that exceeded state guidelines, a Baltimore County judge ordered a city man yesterday to spend life in prison for raping a Towson University student while she walked home from work last year.

Earlier this month, a jury convicted Anthony J. Miller, 30, of the 300 block of Belvedere Ave. in Govans of first-degree rape. Miller followed his victim across campus, grabbed her from behind, threatened to inject her with what he said was an HIV-contaminated needle and raped her in the bushes, prosecutors said.

Under sentencing guidelines, Miller - who also is accused of raping a 12-year-old Rodgers Forge girl - faced 20 to 30 years in prison. But prosecutors pushed for the stiffest possible sentence, saying the attack on the Towson student occurred while Miller was on parole for armed robbery and on bail in an attempted rape in the city.

Baltimore Circuit Judge J. Norris Byrnes also noted that Miller was receiving sexual addiction counseling at the time of the Towson rape, an indication that he could not be rehabilitated.

"From the evidence in this case there is not the slightest doubt in the world that Mr. Miller raped this woman," Byrnes said. "It was a brutal rape, a nightmare."

Miller will become eligible for parole in 15 years but probably will not go before a parole board for 20 to 25 years, Byrnes said.

Miller's attorney, Gwyn Hoerauf, said she expects the sentence to be appealed.

The prosecutor in the case welcomed the life term because it means the state will not have to try Miller in the rape of the 12-year-old and can avoid putting her on the witness stand. Police allege that the girl was attacked behind a building in the 6900 block of York Road as she walked home from school June 7.

"Frankly, a life sentence was a just sentence for just committing this offense," said Assistant State's Attorney Robin Coffin.

Coffin pointed to Miller's criminal past in arguing for a stiff sentence. Miller was sentenced to 10 years for armed robbery in 1992 and served 7 1/2 years.

"He is dangerous," Coffin told Byrnes. "No one is safe when he is on the streets."

A Towson rape crisis organization praised Byrnes' sentence yesterday, saying its biggest fear in court cases is that judges will be too lenient on rapists.

"I think this is a harsh sentence, but his behavior is reprehensible," said Leslie Kayne, executive director for TurnAround Inc. "Think about all the people who he has gone around wrecking their lives. I don't know what else you can recommend for someone like that."

Miller addressed the court yesterday against the advice of his attorney and asked for mercy. He described himself as an Army veteran and college graduate and said he was taking medication and seeing a psychiatrist at the time of the rape.

"This was a heinous crime," Miller said. "I am not a fool. I have no excuse for what was done; what was done was wrong."

Yet, the father of two told the judge he is salvageable. "I'm not that predator killer," Miller said.

"You were that night," Byrnes shot back.

Miller attacked the 20-year-old woman after she had left work at a Towson restaurant about 11:30 p.m. March 24, 2001. He threatened to stick her with the needle if she screamed, then raped her and took her driver's license to let her know that he knew where she lived, prosecutors said.

Byrnes was unwavering in delivering his sentence.

"There is no question that this young woman did not deserve what happened to her and that Mr. Miller went there for the express purpose of raping her," Byrnes said. "A life sentence fits."

The Sun does not publish the names of sexual assault victims to protect their privacy.

Miller also is charged with attempted rape in an incident in Baltimore in November 2000. A spokeswoman for city prosecutors said yesterday that they would meet with the victim to determine whether they will go to trial.

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