Gardenville man pleads guilty to armed carjacking and kidnapping of family

He held knife to throat of boy, stabbed father

sentencing set for Oct.

August 07, 2002|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 56-year-old Gardenville man who held a knife to the throat of a 9-year-old boy to force a family to drive him to an automated teller machine for cash pleaded guilty to kidnapping yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Richard Lee Edwards of the 5100 block of Belair Road was caught about noon Feb. 23 outside a city bank in the 5100 block of Belair Road after the boy's mother said she grabbed Edward's testicles and threatened to rip them off if he didn't stop stabbing her husband.

But Shawn Stroup, a mother of three from Chase, said yesterday that she did nothing heroic.

"He was actively stabbing my husband at the time, so it was the only option open to me," said Stroup, 28.

She credited her children with not crying during the 45-minute ordeal. "They are really the heroes, none of them cried, none of them lost control," she said.

Edwards pleaded guilty yesterday before Baltimore County Circuit Judge Lawrence R. Daniels to armed carjacking and kidnapping.

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst said Edwards was panhandling with a sign that said "Will Work for Food" in the parking lot of the Burger King at Northpoint Boulevard and Rolling Mill Road in Dundalk about 11:15 a.m. when he approached the Stroups' van as they were leaving the restaurant.

Shawn Stroup said her husband, Keith, was reaching into his pocket to give Edwards change when Edwards grabbed her son Jessie, now 10, from behind, put a steak knife to his throat and "threatened to kill the whole family" if the Stroups didn't give him more cash.

Wanted more cash

The Stroups gave him $11.50, but Edwards climbed into the back seat and threatened to kill them unless Keith Stroup drove him to a bank machine and withdrew $60 for him, Brobst said.

"I handed him the keys to the van, I offered him my jewelry, but it wasn't enough, he wanted money," Shawn Stroup said.

The Stroups knew their ATM card was inactive, she said. So when they arrived at the bank, Keith Stroup released the latch on his seat, slammed his body into Edwards and Edwards started stabbing him, according to Shawn Stroup and charging documents.

`Did the best I could'

"I thought, `My husband's going to die to save us,' so I just turned and went back there and did the best I could and grabbed hold," she said.

She said Jessie began kicking and punching Edwards. Jeremy, 8, ran to the bank for help and Sarah, 7, ran to a bank security guard, who rushed to the van and pulled Edwards from it.

Keith Stroup was treated at Good Samaritan Hospital for knife wounds on the face, head and hands, and Jessie was treated for a cut on his face, records show.

Brobst said Edwards is a heroin addict with three armed robbery convictions and that she plans to ask for a sentence of at least 25 years without parole when he is sentenced Oct. 22.

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