Man guilty in bid to rob spouse of delegate


A Havre de Grace man was convicted by a Harford County jury yesterday of trying to rob the husband of a state delegate in December 2004.

Augustine Fortune, 55, had been accused of approaching Del. Mary-Dulany James and her husband, Brian Feeney, and demanding money and their car when they stopped at an ATM in Havre de Grace on their way home from a Christmas party Dec. 17 of that year.

About half of the charges against Fortune - including weapon-related counts - were dropped Tuesday after Harford Circuit Judge Thomas E. Marshall ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove that Fortune used a gun in the alleged crimes. The jury acquitted Fortune of all alleged crimes against James, as well as charges of carjacking and assaulting Feeney.

Fortune's attorney said that his client had stumbled upon James and Feeney in a secluded parking lot and known "make-out spot" and that they offered him cash from the nearby ATM to keep quiet about their activity. The attorney said the couple drove off when Fortune asked for an exorbitant amount.

A sentencing date for Fortune, who has spent 17 months in prison awaiting trial, was set for June. He could face up to 15 years in prison for the attempted robbery charge.

James testified Tuesday that while she waited in the car, Fortune approached Feeney and demanded money and threatened to kill him, but that Feeney kept walking and was able to get into the car to drive away.

Photos taken from the ATM at Harford Bank, in the 900 block of Revolution St., showed Fortune near the machine 20 seconds after Feeney, but little else.

James is a Democrat who represents District 34A, which comprises parts of Harford and Cecil counties.

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