Court upholds ruling against woman convicted in grandson's kidnapping

November 21, 2003|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

Maryland's Court of Special Appeals yesterday upheld a decision by the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court convicting a 60-year-old Egyptian grandmother of helping to kidnap her grandson.

In January, Afaf Nassar Khalifa was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for assisting her daughter, Nermeen Shannon, in the kidnapping of Shannon's 6-year-old son, Adam, from his Millersville home. Shannon's husband, Michael Shannon, won custody of the child in 2001. With Khalifa's help, Nermeen Shannon took Adam to Cairo.

In May, a three-judge panel of the Circuit Court reduced Khalifa's sentence to three years and a $5,000 fine.

Khalifa's attorneys appealed the decision, arguing that Anne Arundel County did not have territorial jurisdiction to prosecute the case and that Khalifa was charged on multiple counts for the same offense.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court's judgments, although it ordered that the three conspiracy charges against Khalifa be merged into one. The three-year sentence stands, the court said.

Asked if he has plans to appeal the decision to Maryland's highest court, Khalifa's attorney, William C. Brennan, declined to comment in detail until he had studied the opinion.

"We have a right to appeal this and we will explore the option," he said. Khalifa is serving time in the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup.

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