Man sentenced to 40 years in Parkville rape

February 25, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

A former Baltimore County man was sentenced to 40 years in prison yesterday for raping a woman during a Parkville home invasion 3 1/2 years ago.

Steven P. Diffendal, 32, was connected to the crime in October 2002, when Baltimore County police matched him to DNA evidence from the scene, prosecutors said.

At the time, the Baltimore County police said it was the first time they had found a suspect using CODIS, or the Combined DNA Index System, the state's databank of convicted felons' DNA profiles.

In Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday, Diffendal entered into a plea agreement in which he retained his ability to challenge the constitutionality of CODIS.

But he did not dispute the prosecutor's version of what happened in the early morning of Nov. 26, 2000, when three 23-year-olds were attacked in a Grandee Court home.

Baltimore County Assistant State's Attorney Robin Coffin said that Diffendal and another masked man forced their way into the home that evening, using a sawed-off shotgun.

They forced the woman who lived there with her boyfriend to engage in sex acts with the other man at the house, Coffin said. Then, Coffin said, Diffendal raped her.

"I am very happy he pleaded," Coffin said yesterday. "And the victim was thrilled."

The Sun does not identify sexual assault victims without their permission.

When police made the CODIS hit, Diffendal was in the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown.

He had been convicted in 1991 for armed robbery and related charges, according to court records, and had returned to prison in January 2002 for a parole violation.

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