Columbia man, 43, enters plea of guilty in felony assault case

He was accused of firing at ex-girlfriend 6 times, biting off her lower lip

July 27, 2004|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 43-year-old Columbia man accused of biting off his ex-girlfriend's lower lip after shooting at her a half-dozen times last fall pleaded guilty yesterday to felony assault and a handgun charge.

In return for Fernando A. Carr's guilty plea, prosecutors said that they agreed to cap their request for prison time at 20 years - 15 for the assault and five for the gun charge.

Sentencing for Carr, of the 7200 block of Calm Sunset, is scheduled for Dec. 20 before Howard Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman.

Carr was arrested Nov. 4 after a violent domestic episode that started when he went to ex-girlfriend Sylvia Frierson's home in the 5400 block of Columbia Road in Columbia to drop off their then-6-year-old son, prosecutors said.

Carr asked Frierson if they could talk on the patio, but what started off as a calm discussion escalated when Carr drew a revolver, pointed it at Frierson and fired six times - missing her, prosecutors said. After Carr dropped the gun, the 6-year-old grabbed the empty revolver and pointed it at his father, but Carr knocked the weapon from his hand, prosecutors said.

The shots caught the attention of neighbors, who called out to make sure everything was all right. As Frierson tried to leave, Carr bit off her lip and punched her in the head, prosecutors said.

Frierson and her son were eventually able to run to a neighbor's apartment. She has since undergone reconstructive surgery to repair the damage, prosecutors said.

When police arrived, they found Carr sitting on a chair in the apartment. He repeatedly denied knowing anything about a gun and told officers that he and Frierson had argued and that she cut herself on a glass that had broken, prosecutors said.

Officers later found bullets for a .22-caliber weapon in Carr's pocket. Carr told investigators that he had thrown the gun outside, prosecutors said.

Investigators found six bullet holes in a door frame and railing - all between 4 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches off the ground, prosecutors said. Frierson, 44, is 5 feet 3 inches tall.

After the hearing yesterday, defense attorney Warren A. Brown said he does not believe his client was trying to kill Frierson, although "he certainly put her in fear."

Brown also said that part of the scenario detailed by prosecutors seems implausible given Carr's physical limitations: Carr, who was brought to court in a wheelchair with the words "I love Christ" taped to the back, lost his lower left leg in a motorcycle accident two years ago, according to court records.

The biting "just doesn't sound like something he was capable of doing under the circumstances or cared to do," Brown said.

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