Rapist who hunted for victim on B&A Trail gets life term

Maryland

November 24, 2005|By ANDREA F. SIEGEL | ANDREA F. SIEGEL,SUN REPORTER

A Severna Park man unnerved four women he pursued one summer evening on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, according to an Anne Arundel County prosector. The fifth woman he raped at knifepoint.

Yesterday, an Anne Arundel County judge sentenced Harvey Edward Brown, 29, to life in prison for his conviction in the Aug. 10, 2004, rape, calling him "a predator."

Judge Ronald A. Silkworth turned down a defense request for 20 years in prison and therapy.

The attack burst the community's sense of safety and altered the habits of many users of the popular state trail, said Assistant State's Attorney Sandra Foy Howell, who sought the life term.

Much of the trail is shrouded from view by foliage, especially where Brown, according to Howell, went hunting for a victim and then forced a 24-year-old Bowie woman into a clearing in the woods and threatened to kill her.

"You see more people in pairs. People are not alone," Howell said. "There are people who don't use the trail now."

Assistant Public Defender Karl H. Gordon asked the judge to consider that Brown is of limited intelligence, has psychological problems, was beaten as a child and is the son of a convicted sex offender. He was sent to a juvenile group home and lived in a shack on the grounds after it closed, he said.

Because of his passive demeanor and the charges he was facing, he lasted only minutes in the county jail's general population. He was returned to protective custody when a guard intervened to stop other inmates from menacing him, Gordon said.

But Howell said Brown knew what he did was wrong and was wily enough to give an assortment of alibis and explanations to police. Brown apologized yesterday to the victim, who told the judge that she has nightmares and flashbacks of the assault.

Howell recounted the chill that other women said they felt after encountering Brown on his gold-color bicycle during the half-hour before the attack:

When a 28-year-old runner sensed someone maintaining a short distance behind her, she turned to stare the man down.

A 17-year-old girl at a snowball stand was so unnerved by a man approaching and watching her that she called her father on her cell phone and spoke loudly.

A 21-year-old runner was relieved when a man keeping pace with her stopped his pursuit as she turned off the trail into a neighborhood.

A 19-year-old female skater was glad when she bumped into a friend and the man who had been following her rode by.

He came up behind the fifth woman. She responded to his small talk. He put a knife to her throat, forced her off the trail and sexually assaulted her.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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